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'Yellowstone' show brought 500 jobs, $15 million in spending to Montana, report says

Camera operators film horseback riders for the "Yellowstone" tv show.
Camera operators film horseback riders for the "Yellowstone" tv show.

Filming in Montana of the hit cable show "Yellowstone" has added considerably to the state’s economy, including more than 500 jobs, according to a University of Montana study.

Patrick Barkey, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, presented the findings to state lawmakers on Monday.

“There’s lots of details to this, but, really, the numbers are pretty astonishing,” Barkey said.

The study found the state has collected more than $10 million in tax revenue, added 527 jobs and saw more than $15 million spent on Montana-based products and services during filming.

That data was collected between October 2020 and February 2021 when season four of "Yellowstone" was filmed. Previous seasons were filmed in Utah, but production moved to Montana after the state Legislature expanded a tax credit for media companies in 2019.

The study was conducted using data provided by Paramount, which produces the drama about a ranching family starring Kevin Costner. Barkey noted the study does not include data on its impact to tourism in Montana or businesses that provide support services.

Barkey said the tax revenue collected wasn’t enough to offset the tax credit provided to the project, but that its economic contribution was “well in excess” of its economic footprint.

Lawmakers will consider at their next meeting in June whether to propose expanding the tax credit.

A representative for Paramount told lawmakers Yellowstone will begin filming season five in Montana next month.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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