Montana’s Economy 7th Strongest in Nation With Robust Growth in 2021

Submitted by Brooke Stroyke, Office of the Governor & Jessica Nelson, Department of Labor & Industry


Governor Greg Gianforte announced on April 25, Montana’s economy grew an inflation-adjusted 6.7% in 2021, the seventh largest rate of growth in the country. It also marks the sharpest rate growth in Montana in more than 40 years. Montanans’ personal income also grew by 8.5% in 2021, the fastest increase in 15 years.

“Thanks to hardworking Montanans, our state had an economic boom last year, despite inflation and the pandemic. Montanans’ earnings increased at the fastest rate in 15 years, and we’re producing more than we have in near two generations. The Last Best Place is a great place to live, work, raise a family, and do business,” Gov. Gianforte said.

According to economic data released this month by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Montana’s real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.7% in 2021, well above the U.S. growth of 5.7%.

Real GDP is the inflation-adjusted value of the goods and services produced by labor and property located in a given area. Montana’s total GDP was $59.3 billion in 2021 in current dollars.

By industry, the sector with the largest GDP was the finance and real estate industry, with $11.2 billion in current dollars. The largest contributor to the overall gain in real GDP was the professional and business services industry, with gains in 2021 of more than $575 million over its 2020 level. Finance and manufacturing also posted large increases in the value of output produced.

The strongest recovery was posted in the leisure activities industry, which includes hotels, restaurants, ski resorts, museums, and many tourism activities that were hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Growth in these businesses surged in 2021 by 22% over 2020.

New economic data from BEA also revealed Montana’s per capita personal income grew by 8.5% in 2021, faster than the U.S. growth of 7.4%. The 8.5% increase marks the largest increase in Montana’s per capita personal income since 2006.

Earlier this month, the governor announced Montana’s unemployment rate in March fell to a record low of 2.3%, the fourth lowest rate in the nation. Montana’s labor force and total employment also reached record highs in March.

Since Gov. Gianforte was elected in November 2020, Montana’s unemployment rate has dropped from 4.2% to 2.3%, and nearly 26,000 jobs have been created in the state.