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Report: Montana Ranked Near The Top In 2020 Personal Income Growth

Annual Change in State Personal Income, Adjusted for Inflation: 2007–20
Pew Charitable Trusts
Annual Change in State Personal Income, Adjusted for Inflation: 2007–20";

Montanans saw a greater increase in the money they took home in 2020 than nearly every other state in the country, according to a report by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The report says Montana tied with Arizona for strongest personal income growth in 2020. Mike Maciag is an officer with The Pew Charitable Trusts, and he says there was one big reason for increases nationwide. 

“We had this historic, unprecedented increase in public assistance.”

That money — which includes unemployment insurance payouts, relief checks, Medicare and Medicaid — drove up personal income for many Americans. 

The report reflects an aggregate number of what Montanans took home last year, not an average of individual income. 

Bryce Ward, the founder of ABMJ Consulting and an economist at the University of Montana, says Montana was unique in that increases in salaries and wages factored in heavily, despite the pandemic and recession. 

“The fact that employment was down should have brought wages down, but as of right now, what got paid in the fourth quarter to everybody who worked in Montana was up a lot — and a lot relative to other parts of the country.

Ward says the agriculture sector in Montana saw the biggest increase, where year over year income went up by 172%. The sector received significant government assistance, but he says that doesn’t completely account for the uptick. 

Ward also says that he expects wage growth to keep climbing in Montana, especially as businesses struggle to hire due to a shortage of workers. 

“A lot of them are gonna say, ‘Well, I’ve got to pay a higher wage to get people to even consider my application right now.’”

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