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Unemployment rate 6.1 percent

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HELENA – Montana’s unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 points to 6.1 percent in September. The national rate decreased by 0.3 percent to 7.8 percent.

The state gained 1,100 jobs in September, said Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly. Over the last year, the number of unemployed people has dropped by 11 percent.

Both Montana and the U.S. unemployment rates made significant movements downward in September, echoing the declines at this time last year. Montana’s employment growth rate over the last year remains at 1.7 percent, above its long-term average of 1.2 percent since the series started in 1976. At the U.S. level, employment has grown by 2 percent in the last year, compared to a 1.3 percent average annual growth rate using the same time period.

Montana’s total employment increased by 1,130 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. Total employment includes both payroll workers, plus agricultural and self-employed workers. Payroll employment estimates indicated an increase of 600 jobs, with a gain of 1,200 jobs in the private sector and a decline of 600 government jobs. Job gains were greatest in the Professional and Business Services industry and in Construction. Preliminary estimates indicate that Construction has been adding jobs since the fourth quarter of 2011.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased by 0.6 percent in September, marking the second straight month where spiking gasoline prices have caused notable price increases in the CPI-U. Gasoline prices rose 7 percent in September following a 9 percent rise last month. The food index increased marginally by 0.1 percent. The increase in the all items less food and energy index, referred to as core inflation, remained relatively steady at 0.1 percent for the third straight month.

Unemployment figures are seasonally-adjusted. Seasonally-adjusted numbers remove the effects of events that follow a more or less regular month-to-month pattern each year. These adjustments make nonseasonal patterns easier to identify. The margin of error for the unemployment rate is plus or minus 0.8 percentage points at the 90 percent confidence level.

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