Montana Public Radio

jobs

Montana unemployment rate, November 2017.
Montana Department of Labor and Industry http://lmi.mt.gov/

Montana’s unemployment rate has held steady for most of 2017, and November was no exception. The state's unemployment rate stood at 4 percent last month.

Barbara Wagner, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry’s Chief Economist, says the state’s economy is strong.

Three bills aimed at helping Indian tribes passed the Senate yesterday, and one of them is going to President Donald Trump’s desk. All three were sponsored by Democratic Senator Jon Tester.

A GRIT participant casts a brilliant flash of light as she learns the basic technique of stick welding.
Beau Baker

Wearing safety goggles and a hard hat, Sylvianne Wright, a Missoula high school student, is racing to pound nails into a beam in the main woodshop of Missoula College’s Department of Industrial Technology.

Wright, who goes to Willard Alternative High School, is part of a Missoula YWCA program called GRIT, or Girls Representing In Trades.

MFP project Architectural & Engineering Firm EPSTEIN Global, Inc.

The Alberta-based livestock company Friesen Foods is proposing a 3,000 acre slaughterhouse and food processing facility outside of Great Falls.

In the next month or so, the Trump administration will announce its plan to shrink or modify large national monuments across the country. Some people are heralding the decision, saying these designations are federal land grabs that strangle local economies and kill jobs.

Others say national monuments help local economies by boosting tourism. But an economist from Utah told a crowd in Bozeman on Thursday they might both be wrong.

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.

A stack of logs.
(PD)

An escalating trade war brewing between the United States and Canada could save timber mills in Montana, but at the cost of over 1,000 jobs north of the border in British Columbia.

It all started in April, when the Trump administration slapped tariffs on softwood lumber coming across the border, making them up to 24 percent more expensive. It’s something Montana lumber producers have been asking for, and it’s a test of Trump’s ‘America First’ trade policy. 

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 To Eliminate Overtime Pay For Some Seasonal Workers In Montana Advances

Apr 6, 2017
Rep. Amanda Curtis, D - Butte
Mike Albans

HELENA -- A bill that would get rid of overtime regulations for certain seasonal outdoor recreation workers needs just one more vote in the House to get to the governor’s desk.

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