Montana Public Radio

Montana Unemployment Claims Steadily Decreasing

Oct 1, 2020

Montana unemployment claims are steadily decreasing and that trend could continue, despite the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the state. 

Just under 25,000 Montanans filed for unemployment insurance the week of September 19. That’s in line with the downward trend that’s been happening since claims spiked in late April with over 82,000 applications. 

And although there’s been a recent jump in COVID-19 cases in Montana, Director of the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research Patrick Barkey says that probably won’t show up in the unemployment numbers. 

"A lot of things that happen in Montana reflect economic circumstances outside of Montana."

Barkey says a big chunk of Montana’s economy is based on those outside circumstances like tourists coming in and goods leaving the state, which are more strongly tied to what’s happening nationally and globally. 

Barley says that includes trade issues caused by the border closures between the U.S. and Canada. He also says that while industries like manufacturing, food production and even wood are recovering steadily, service industries are, for the most part, still hurting.