Montana Public Radio

University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research

Brigitta Miranda-Freer
Courtesy of Brigitta Miranda-Freer

Imagine pulling out a new board game's instructions and discovering that the normally skinny pamphlet runs thousands of pages and spells out the rules of the game from soup to nuts. That's what an international trade agreement looks like: it's comprehensive, it's years in the making, and millions of people's livelihoods depend on it.

 


Montana’s most populated county may be reaching an economic equilibrium following a drop in oil prices in 2014 thanks to a strong base of manufacturing support services. 

iStock

Researchers say government activity in Lewis and Clark County continues to insulate the area from major economic swings. But an outlook released Tuesday by University of Montana analysts shows wage growth in the area lags behind the state as a whole.


A Montana timber company on Jan. 13 announced indefinitely closing one of its two sawmills, citing chronic timber supply problems due to litigation. Economists say lawsuits are only partly to blame.

Housing costs in Montana relative to the U.S. and other Western states.
BBER analysis of 2016 American Community Survey (1-year). / http://www.bber.umt.edu/pubs/seminars/2018/EconRpt2018.pdf

Housing prices in Montana continue to rise, but how affordable housing looks depends a lot on where you stand. Economists from the University of Montana are focusing on affordable housing in their annual series of economic outlook seminars. The first was in Helena Tuesday, nine more are scheduled across the state between now and mid-March.

Share of working age populatin who own a business as their main job.
2017 Kauffman Index of Mainstreet Entrepreneurship


Montana leads the country in entrepreneurship, according to a new study by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

A new study funded in part by the coal industry says shutting down of Colstrip’s two newer, larger coal-fired electricity generators in the next decade could have a huge impact statewide.

Colstrip’s two older units, 1 and 2, will shut down no later than July 2022 because of a Clean Air Act lawsuit settlement. But the future of the newer units, 3 and 4, remains uncertain.

Mining industry advocates went on the offensive Wednesday against a proposed ballot initiative they say would effectively ban future mining in the state.

The opposition group to ballot initiative 186 announced its launch a day after the Montana Supreme Court ruled against the mining industry’s request to void the initiative.

Kristin Page-Nei, one of the authors of I-185, speaks in support of the initiative in Helena, April 19, 2018. The ballot initiative proposes increasing tobacco taxes to raise money for health care programs, including Medicaid expansion.
Corin-Cates Carney

Montana’s Medicaid expansion program, which provides more than 93,000 people in the state health coverage, expires in just over a year. Campaigns are now underway to stop that from happening and to lobby support for the health care program.

Medicaid expansion in Montana is expected to cost the state more than $58 million annually in a couple of years. But, a new economic analysis says the healthcare program in on track to pay for itself by then through savings in other parts of the state budget and increased economic activity.

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