Montana Public Radio

Montana Incomes Grew Faster Than The National Average In 2017

Jan 25, 2018

Personal income growth in Montana grew faster last year than the national average. That’s according to an analysis released Thursday by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Montana ranked sixth in the nation through the third quarter of 2017 for growth rate in personal income.

Ruth Mantell, a researcher at Pew, says Montana’s growth was nearly a full percentage point above the nationwide average.

“So when you look at the growth in Montana’s state personal income, it's up 1.7 percent over the past year. And that is faster than the U.S. as a whole.”

Montana’ personal income has also grown faster than the national average since the great recession in 2007. But that growth is slowing down. Even though Montana is outperforming most of the country in how fast personal income is rising, the increase last year was below the state’s 10-year average.

“When you look at specific industries you can see that the biggest driver for Montana's personal income growth has been its health care and social assistance industry," Mantell says. "And that’s just like the U.S. Montana’s biggest detractor has been from farm earnings.”

Growth rate in state personal income for Montana and neighboring states through Q3, 2017, adjusted for inflation.
Credit Pew Charitable Trusts

While Montana stacks up pretty well compared with the rest of the country when looking at personal income growth since the start of the great recession, Pew research says its performance looks worse when viewed through a longer lens.

Montana’s 2017 performance is behind the national 30-year average by almost a full percentage point.

See more state fiscal trends here.