Montana Public Radio

Report: Montana Job Losses Could Pass 50,000 This Year

Apr 28, 2020

An economic downturn of greater magnitude than that seen in 2008 recession could be felt in Montana in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. That’s according to a preliminary analysis from the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana.

The report released Tuesday forecasts the Montana economy in 2020 could see employment drop 7.3 percent, a loss of more than 50,000 jobs.

The analysis says job losses will be greatest in the northwest region of the state, but every region will experience a significant downturn. Accommodations, food, retail, and arts and entertainment industries are forecast to feel the greatest impact.

Dec. 2019 vs. April 2020 Forecast Comparison - Employment Difference by Region (thousands).
Credit UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research

Stronger economic growth is expected in 2021, and to a lesser extent 2022, which analysts say will mostly close the gap and bring economic activity back within medium-term growth projections made before the crisis.

The BBER report says even an optimistic forecast puts the state economy in a hole that will take years to refill.