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Montana unemployment falls to record low 2.5% in December

January 25, 2022 GMT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell another 0.3 percentage points in December, ending the year at 2.5% — the lowest unemployment rate since records started being kept in 1976, Gov. Greg Gianforte said Tuesday.

Montana’s total employment hit a record high of 531,040 workers. Payroll employment grew by 3,200 jobs, with strong growth in retail, officials said.

The number of unemployed Montanans fell to a record low 13,689 in December — a decline of 1,719 from November.

Montana has nearly 9,400 more people working in December than it did before the pandemic began in March 2020, the governor’s office said.

The unemployment rate for the U.S. dropped to 3.9% in December, also down 0.3 percentage points from November.

Nebraska had the lowest jobless rate in December at 1.7%, followed by Utah at 1.9%. Montana was one of 12 states with a record low unemployment rate last month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The rate of inflation increased by 0.5% in December and has risen 7% over the past 12 months, a 40-year high. The inflation was led by increases in the cost of gasoline, fuel oil and used car prices.