Montana Public Radio

Megan Myscofski

Megan is a reporter and Morning Edition host who came to us in 2019 from the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Her academic career focused on audio, business and economics reporting.

For rent sign in front of a house.
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Finding an apartment in Missoula became even harder in the last few months of 2020. 

Sterling Commercial Real Estate Advisors in Missoula released a report Wednesday that says the available rental housing rate dropped below one percent in the fourth quarter last year. The report says a balanced rental estate market would have about a four percent vacancy rate and that Missoula’s low rate means new housing isn’t keeping up with demand. 

Montana Labor Market Information / Montana Department of Labor and Industry

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry announced Tuesday that it has continued paying out unemployment insurance benefits through the latest federal stimulus package passed at the end of last year. An agency spokesperson said the programs will be open until mid-March, with some final payments extending into April.

Selling more liquor licenses would raise between $2.5 million and $4 millin for the state.
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The omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week and signed into law by President Donald Trump on Sunday makes tax cuts permanent for manufacturers of beer, wine and spirits. The cuts will likely help keep Montana brewers in business as they weather the rest of the pandemic.

The new coronavirus relief stimulus package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump will introduce $20-per-acre farm subsidies. Experts say it will help Montana farmers, but might not be the fix farmers want.

Megan Myscofski

It’s been a rough year for Montana’s small businesses and more help could be on the way, packaged in Congress’ latest COVID-19 relief bill that's headed to President Donald Trump's desk. But that relief will look different in this round of aid and some programs that helped businesses stay afloat might not continue into the new year.

USPS Post Office Mail Trucks. Indianapolis, IN, circa August 2019
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An increase in online shopping due to the pandemic has slammed the United States Postal Service this holiday season, in Montana and across the country .

Missoula Postmaster Michael Slater says post office staff in Missoula are working hard to keep up with demand, loading packages as early as 6 a.m. and delivering until as late as 9 at night. 

Gov. Steve Bullock’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Montana task force, aimed at narrowing the gender wage gap, released its final report Wednesday.

The task force’s final report, released as Bullock prepares to leave office, encourages more women to pursue jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to learn effective wage negotiation strategies. It also recommends employers engage in fair hiring policies and offer childcare solutions and paid family leave.

 Updated on Dec. 9, 2020

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry issued 38,584 unemployment insurance payments last week, nearly double the 20,308 it issued the week before. The department paid over $12.5 million in unemployment benefits last week. 

A coronavirus testing swab in a test tube.
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The lead epidemiologist for the Montana health department says the fall spike in COVID-19 cases put a strain on efforts to trace the virus' spread, making it harder to collect that data and forcing officials to rethink how they present it to the public.

Concept image of cables and connections for internet data transfer
iStock

Rural internet providers across the country are waiting on the federal government to finish giving directions on what to do with recently banned Chinese equipment. The delay is adding uncertainty and costs to efforts to narrow Montana’s digital divide.

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