Montana Public Radio

economy

Mandy Mohler started Field Guide Designs after spending a week in the Bob Marshall photographing items she found in the Spruce Park Cabin. She says her business wouldn't be possible if it weren't for Montana's public lands.
Nicky Ouellet

For the past two decades, Montanans have been making more money, creating more jobs and  increasing investment and retirement income in the state. What’s the cause for all this growth? Ray Rasker of Headwaters Economics Research says it has to do with the best asset in the last best state: public lands.

"Rural counties around the West that have a lot of federal land have faster growth in population, faster growth in employment, and faster growth in personal income," Rasker says.

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.
Bureau of Land Management

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will decide whether to shrink or eliminate 22 national monuments later this month. As Yellowstone Public Radio’s Brie Ripley reports, these monuments are significant money-makers for business owners across the West, who met in Helena and Great Falls Wednesday to discuss their concerns.

In Montana outdoor recreation generates nearly $6 billion in consumer spending annually, and supports over 60,000 jobs.

2016 non-resident expenditure allocation by category.
UM Institute of Tourism and Recreation Research

Montana’s tourism industry saw more people last year, but fewer dollars.

That’s according to the latest update released today by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana.

In 2016 about 12.5 million out of state visitors came to Montana, that’s up 3 percent over 2015.

A recent informal survey of Missoula parents highlights some of the biggest ongoing local childcare needs and challenges.
(PD)

Affordable and easily accessible childcare is just as elusive in Montana as it is everywhere else in America. At a luncheon Tuesday, a Missoula County group called Healthy Start Missoula that’s supported by a federal grant laid out the challenges and offered one potential private-sector solution.

Healthy Start Coordinator, Anna Semple, says parents now have precious few infant childcare options:

Bill Would Reduce Taxes For MT Farmers, Ranchers, Business Owners

Mar 13, 2017
Hay field. File photo.
PD

Supporters of a bill aimed at reducing property taxes in Montana say the agricultural industry needs help because of dropping commodity prices.

Voters in Clinton, Montana, cast ballots during the 2016 elections.
Rebekah Welch / UM School of Journalism

A bill designed to save county governments half a million dollars or more is facing a time crunch in the state legislature. It would allow them to conduct mail-in only balloting. If it’s going to have any impact on how voters select the state’s next U.S. congressman, it must pass out of what one lawmaker is calling a kill committee.

Hospital monitor.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Healthcare employment in Montana grew by more than 3 percent last year, after years of growth below 1 percent. That's according to the new annual report from the University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

2016 was the first full year of Medicaid expansion in Montana under the Affordable Care Act, which helped the state's uninsured rate drop by nearly two-thirds.

Montana Economy Slowed In 2016, BBER Reports

Jan 24, 2017
Montana's economy slowed significantly in 2016, and continued slow growth is projected for this year.
Courtesy BBER Montana

Montana's economy slowed significantly in 2016, and continued slow growth is projected for this year. That's according to new numbers released today by economists at the University of Montana.

Montana's Minimum Wage Set To Increase In 2017

Sep 29, 2016
Montana ranks 9th in the U.S. in terms of state personal income growth according to the latest comparison from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Getty Images/iStock Photo

Montana’s minimum wage will increase by 10 cents starting next year.

A little over one percent of Montana’s workforce receives minimum wage, which is currently $8.05 an hour.

Republican Representatives Brad Tschida, Ron Ehli, and Nancy Ballance.
Edward O'Brien

With the election six weeks away, Republican state lawmakers say Montana’s Democratic governor needs a reality check. They say the state’s economy is more fragile than Steve Bullock’s letting on.

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