Montana Public Radio

unemployment benefits

The Republican candidate for Montana’s sole U.S. House seat recently released a plan that he says will revitalize an economy impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Current state Auditor Matt Rosendale says his proposals can create the jobs necessary to get people back to work as soon as possible.

“I’d say the bulk of this is about reducing unnecessary burdensome regulation and making sure that we have a reasonable tax and predictable tax policy in place,” Rosendale said.

A coronavirus testing swab in a test tube.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Health officials in Montana announced two deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, one connected to an outbreak at a nursing home in Billings and the other in Lewis and Clark County.

A man in his 70s died early Thursday at Canyon Creek Memory Care which has lost eight other residents to the respiratory virus, said the Yellowstone County health department.

Montana has paid out more than $10 million in potentially fraudulent unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has stopped more than $220 million in fraudulent payments since April 28, the Department of Labor and Industry said Thursday.

Carole Haidle it the owner of Missoula's Shear Perfection salon. Local guidelines require screenings, social distancing and strict new cleaning and sanitation regimes for salons and barber shops.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed how massage therapists, nail techs, tattoo artists and barbers do their work. Hair salons and other personal care services are reopening for business, but under new guidelines from state and local officials.

MTPR's Edward O’Brien got a haircut this week and takes us along to show what’s changed at one Missoula barber shop.

Child care is a critical part of Montana’s economic recovery from COVID-19 as more parents return to work. But some providers have closed permanently and others are struggling, adding to an already dire shortage. Recently released federal funding may only provide short term relief as the state faces a child care crisis.

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry issued more than 55,000 unemployment payments totaling $60 million last week.

The total includes regular unemployment payments, expanded pandemic assistance and the $600 weekly addition from the federal CARES Act.

Montanans who are self-employed, independent contractors or gig workers impacted by COVID-19 are now receiving unemployment payments.

Montana issued more than 45,000 unemployment payments totalling more than $45 million from Apr. 20 through Apr. 24.

Last week’s payments include an additional $600 from the recent federal coronavirus relief package.

A construction worker works at the AC Hotel in Missoula, April 03, 2020.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Another 10,500 Montana residents filed new unemployment claims last week, bringing the total over the past five weeks to nearly 81,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Montana's self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers, who are not eligible for traditional unemployment, are now able to file for benefits under the federal coronavirus relief act through a new website at


Some people receiving unemployment in Montana will start seeing an additional $600 in weekly benefits from the state labor department. The $600 bump was approved by Congress as part of the federal CARES Act.