Montana’s Unemployment Rate Hits All-Time Low

Submitted by Kaitlin Price, Office of the Governor


Governor Greg Gianforte announced on March 16 that Montana’s unemployment rate declined to 2.5% in January, matching the record low set in the governor’s second year in office, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.

Montana’s unemployment rate in January is the fourth lowest in the nation.

“Hardworking Montanans continue to drive our state’s growing economy, despite severe national headwinds. Montanans are setting new records for job creation, business creation, and employment,” Gov. Gianforte said. “With them in mind, we’ll keep building on our pro-business, pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda so more Montanans can thrive, prosper, and achieve the American dream.”

Montana’s unemployment rate has only dipped below 3% in 18 months since recordkeeping began in 1976. Fifteen of those 18 months have taken place during Gov. Gianforte’s tenure.

Since Gov. Gianforte took office in 2021, Montanans have created nearly 33,000 jobs.

In the two years since Gov. Gianforte took office, January 2021-January 2023, Montana’s labor force grew by 4.69%, or 25,268 people. In contrast, the state’s labor force grew by 2.63% in the two-year period before the pandemic, March 2018-March 2020.

Between January 2021 and January 2023, total employment in Montana grew by 6.26%, or 32,760 workers. In comparison, the state’s total employment grew by 3.02% between March 2018 and March 2020.

Total employment in Montana rose by 1,444 jobs in January, to a new record high of 555,920 jobs. Montana added 1,500 payroll jobs in January, with the construction industry leading in job gains.

Montana’s labor force also continued its strong growth in January, rising by 767 workers to 570,316, another all-time high.

On Tuesday, BLS reported the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in February rose 0.4% over-the-month. In the last 12 months, inflation has grown by 6.0%.

According to BLS, an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor, over the past 12 months,

  • Grocery prices are up nationally 10.2%
  • Eggs, up 55.4%
  • Poultry, up 9.5%
  • Milk, up 8.1%
  • Coffee, up 11.4%
  • Fruits and vegetables, up 5.3%
  • Baby food and formula, up 9.8%
  • Rent prices are up 8.2%
  • Electricity prices are up 12.9%
  • Fuel oil prices are up 9.2%
  • Airfare prices are up 26.5%
  • Motor vehicle insurance prices are up 14.5%
  • Motor vehicle maintenance and repair prices are up 12.5%
  • Tools, hardware, and outdoor equipment and supplies prices are up 11.8%

Gianforte signs $1 Billion Republican Tax Rebate, Tax-Cut Package into Law

‘What the governor called ‘the largest tax cut in Montana history’ provides rebates up to $2,250 for Montanans who own their homes, pays down state debt, and invests in highways.’

See full article on Page 3. Courtesy of Montana Free Press. Photo:Gov. Greg Gianforte speaks on the steps of the Montana Capitol Monday, March 13 during a event where he formally signed a billion-dollar package of Republican tax cut bills. Credit: Eric Dietrich / MTFP

Farmers Market at Libby Accepting Vendor Applications for New Season

Submitted by Megan Leach

The Farmers Market at Libby, organized by the Libby Chamber Of Commerce, Is accepting applications from new and returning vendors for the 2023 season. Vendor packets with applications can be picked up at the Libby Chamber Of Commerce or downloaded online at

All local growers, makers, bakers, and organizations are encouraged to apply to sell their locally grown, made, or produced goods. Our market is proud to offer the best quality and selection of local products and wed be glad to have you join us for an all new season!

And if you are new to vending or have any questions about changes for this season, stop by our Vendor Meeting on April 13, at 5 p.m. in the Fjord Room at the Venture Inn, where we hope to have all the answers you need.

For more information on this topic, please contact the Market Manager (406) 293-4167 or email


Kootenai Valley Rifle Club Shooters Head to State

Submitted by

KV Rifle Club

Two members of the Kootenai Valley Junior Rifle Team travelled to the Spokane Gun Club on March 11, to compete in the Washington state junior three position championship.

Salix Harris and Kyalynn Comer would compete with 60 other shooters from across the state.

Twenty-six shooters travelled from Troy MT, Naples ID, Coeur d’Alene ID, Spokane WA area and Wenatchee WA and completed the 120 shot course of fire at the Spokane range.

The remaining thirty-six shot at the range at the Tacoma Rifle and Revolver Club in Olympia WA. The scores from both venues were combined to determine the state champion.

The competitors use single shot .22 rifles, with iron sights, shooting indoors at a target 50 feet down range. The ten is not much larger than the period at the end of this sentence. The course of fire is four targets of 10 shots each, in the prone, standing and kneeling positions.

Harris just moved into the intermediate junior class (15-17 years old), the largest class represented with 35 shooters, and placed sixth in the state.  Comer represented the sub-junior class (14 years old and younger), and out of 14 shooters, she took third place. She also placed first in the prone and kneeling positions scoring a 90 or better on each of the eight targets. Several personal records were set by both girls.

If you are interested in learning more about, or returning to, the sport of competitive shooting, stop by the range on Wednesday or Thursday evening at 6:30pm, or call Don Jordan at 208-610-0226. See you on the range!

Hunter,Bowhunter Ed.

Instructors Honored for Years of Service

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks recently honored the service of its northwest Montana hunter and bowhunter education instructors at an annual workshop in Kalispell.

The annual workshop is an opportunity for FWP staff and instructors to review the education programs, discuss updates, and celebrate the volunteerism of the instructors. The heart of Montana’s hunter and bowhunter education programs is the corps of dedicated volunteer instructors. They keep Montana’s hunting traditions strong by promoting safety, ethics, and responsibility and by mentoring new hunters.

At the 2023 Region 1 workshop, several instructors were awarded for service milestones, ranging from five years to 30 years. The latest honorees are listed below. Monty Long of Kalispell has served as a hunter education instructor for 30 years and Bennie Rossetto of Kalispell has served as a bowhunter education instructor for 30 years. Megan Strom of Eureka has served for 20 years and was named the regional Instructor of the Year for 2022. JF Hewitt of Kalispell was named the Instructor of the Year for 2021 after the honor was delayed from last year.

“The men and women who volunteer to mentor new hunters are passionate and dedicated to Montana’s hunting tradition and to teaching firearm safety,” said Dillon Tabish, FWP regional communication and education program manager. “These instructors serve their communities in a very important way. They deserve a sincere ‘Thank you’ from all of us.”

If anyone is interested in the future of hunting, in improving sportsmanship and safety in the field, or teaching an appreciation for the vast hunting resources in Montana, FWP encourages them to sign up to become an instructor. Visit for more information. In northwest Montana, call Dillon Tabish at (406) 751-4564.

Region 1 Honorees: 5 Years of Service

Hunter Education: Paul Dalziel, Troy & Neil Newton, Troy 

Submitted by Montana FWP