Thursday, December 8 2022

KGVO spoke with Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte Friday afternoon as he visited southeastern Montana for the second time since taking office.

Gianforte specifically referenced a report released Friday morning about a new record high unemployment rate report for the state.

“Montana’s return plan is working,” Gov. Gianforte said. “We are seeing a record unemployment rate, in fact the fifth lowest in the whole country at 2.6%. This creates tight labor markets because so many people are working. In fact, we now have over 560,000 people working. It’s more than ever before, so we’re encouraged.

Gianforte said those who worked built homes and started businesses.

“We’ve seen 1,300 more people go to work in the last month alone,” he said. “So we are building houses and we hope to fill this housing shortage that we have. There are construction works. We also have manufacturers who decide to move to Montana and that creates new jobs. Also, we’ve been aggressive at the Department of Commerce in recruiting companies to create more high-paying jobs here in the state, and it’s starting to show in the numbers.

Gianforte said wherever he travels in the state, a common theme emerges; inflation.

“Inflation comes up in every conversation, and that means our paychecks don’t go that far, especially in the farming community,” he said. Input prices have gone up, fertilizer, diesel, have both taken a bite out and everyone knows it’s just a pain to go to the gas station and fill up. All of this inflation is a combination of disruptions in our supply chains. Plus, there’s the current anti-energy policy, where we’ve seen this anti-American energy policy come out of the Biden administration. It hits us all straight in the wallet.

Gianforte also referred to the recent record sale of oil and gas concessions conducted for the first time online.

“We used to use stone tablets and chisels to do these auctions, but now we’re using this new trick, Peter, you may have heard of, called the Internet,” he laughed. “Now we let people bid online. That means people can bid from Houston or Boise, or from Denver. They don’t have to be there in person, and that has created a better market. The result was that we raised nearly $1.2 million in just one sale. This money will go into our public school system to ensure that our children have a better future.

Montana’s total employment, which includes payrolls, agricultural workers and the self-employed, rose by 2,328 in February to 542,086, the highest level in Montana history. While Montana’s unemployment rate was 2.6% in February, the US unemployment rate was 3.8%.

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