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Montana's job growth in 2021 surpassed Gianforte's first-year goal

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Wednesday the state surpassed a job growth goal he set in his first year in office.

According to data from the state labor department, in 2021 Montana added nearly 13,000 new jobs that pay above the state’s median wage. That exceeded the governor’s goal to add a net of 10,000 new jobs that pay more than $50,000.

Gianforte said in an interview Wednesday he still has work to do.

“We got here by cutting taxes and red tape, attracting new businesses and investing in our workforce to ensure that Montanans have the skills they need.”

The labor department reports the overall share of jobs in Montana paying over $50,000 per year increased slightly, from about 24% to 25%.

Christiana Stoddard is a professor of economics at Montana State University and says it’s clear Gianforte’s goal isn’t only about adding jobs.

“The $50,000 is really targeting, kind of, quote 'good jobs' and jobs that historically have been kind of more about, you know, a quarter of the workforce of Montana.”

Stoddard said the increase in good-paying jobs is in line with the growth Montana was experiencing in the years leading up to 2021. She noted the $50,000 per year benchmark was above Montana’s $38,000 median wage in 2021. The national median wage last year was around $48,000.

Gianforte says he has set the same goal to add another 10,000 new jobs in 2022 paying $50,000.

The dust has settled after a historic legislative session. Montana’s governor has now set a benchmark for measuring the success of his campaign promise to…

Shaylee is Montana Public Radio's Capitol reporter. She previously worked for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and covered the 2019 legislative session for the University of Montana's Legislative News Service.