Business briefcases | local |

August 28, 2022

Montana Economy

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Governor says state hits record high for workers

Gov. Greg Gianforte said Montana’s economy continued its strong growth in July, hitting a record high for the number of employed Montanans.

According to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Montana’s labor force added 1,470 workers in July, while Montana’s total employment increased by 712. workers.

Job creation in Montana increased in July for the 27th consecutive month.

“With our focus on teaching trades and expanding opportunities for well-paying careers, more and more Montanese are returning to work,” Gianforte said in a news release, adding that record job growth alleviates the labor shortage and relieves employers who are hiring.

Private sector payrolls posted a net gain of 500 jobs in July, with health care and social assistance leading with 800 jobs added.

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Montana’s unemployment rate was 2.7% in July as labor force growth continued to outpace total employment, compared to 3.5% in the United States in July.

Electrify Big Sky event held in September

The inaugural Electrify the Big Sky conference will be held at the University of Montana on September 13 in the University Center Ballroom.

Electrify the Big Sky, which focuses on the opportunities and challenges of beneficial electrification, will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Missoula. The cost is $20 for the general public and includes breakfast and lunch. Admission is free for University of Montana students who register using the code provided on the website and present a student ID upon check-in.

Participants can register online at

The Montana Electric Cooperative Association, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Beneficial Electrification League and the Missoula Electric Cooperative are the organizers of the event.

Conference topics include a panel discussion on electric vehicle adoption in Montana and hands-on sessions on home electrification projects, as well as breakout sessions on utility rate design, adequacy resources and opportunities for beneficial electrification, such as the use of electric water heaters to store energy. Other discussions will focus on beneficial electrification upgrades for new homes; what easy upgrades are available for existing homes, such as programmable thermostats, and an overview of renewable energy sources and home storage options.

There is also an electric vehicle and technology show, where attendees will have the opportunity to get acquainted with electric cars, lawn mowers, a garbage truck and a large tractor for agricultural use.

For more information, contact Ryan Hall at 406-761-8333

Montana joins Lithuania on lasers

The Montana Department of Commerce, in conjunction with the Montana Photonics Industry Alliance and the Lithuanian Laser Association, have partnered to produce virtual seminars to promote education on the laser, photonics, and photonics industries. optics while developing a network of business and academic contacts between Montana and Lithuania. , officials said recently.

“Since its inception, the program’s success has represented more than $4.5 billion in investments in Montana’s economy by adding value to the state’s natural resources, creating well-paying jobs and strengthening our tax base,” Montana Department of Commerce Director Scott Osterman said in an email. .

He said the seminars create a mutually beneficial relationship with Lithuania while promoting bilateral trade and investment in the laser, photonics and optics industries.

The first seminar on light detection and ranging was held in May. This technology uses eye-safe laser beams to create a 3D representation of the environment being studied and is essential for autonomous driving and similar applications.

Last month, the second seminar focused on the topic of quantum telecommunications and materials.

With nearly six times the land area, Montana has a third of the population of Lithuania. In 2020, Montana’s GDP was almost 80% of Lithuania’s; both have similar land use with about two-thirds privately owned.

Montana and Lithuania share a strong laser, photonics and optics industrial cluster that together employs more than 3,000 workers, paying salaries above relative averages, officials said.

Two other seminars are planned. For more information, visit COMMERCE.MT.GOV.

State Ag accepts applications for funding

The Montana Department of Agriculture reminds people that the Grow Through Farming program is accepting applications for this year’s funding round. The application deadline is September 12 at 5 p.m.

MDA staff will host a technical support call for interested parties Monday at noon. Join us by visiting the Department’s website at:

The program was established by the Legislature to strengthen and diversify Montana’s agricultural industry by developing new agricultural products and processes. GTA grants and loans are made by the Agricultural Development Board, a seven-member board appointed by the Governor. GTA funding requires the investment of at least $1 in matching funds for every $1 in grant or loan received.

For more information about the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit

Jacobsen addresses Helena’s Rotary Club

Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen addressed the Rotary Club of Helena Wednesday at the organization’s weekly meeting and provided members with updates from the Secretary of State’s office in which she discussed successes and goals achieved.

Christi Jacobson

Jacobsen touted Montana’s business-friendly climate and low business filing fees, including his recent cut that halved Montana’s business registration fees.

“By cutting red tape, thousands of businesses will benefit from estimated savings of more than $1 million per year. Montana saw record business growth in 2021, and we look forward to seeing this trend continue in the years to come. »

Jacobsen also updated Helena Rotary on the current cycle of midterm elections, including the June primary election reaching record turnout for a midterm primary in Montana.

Club members also received updates from the Montana Land Board, including the August meeting that generated an estimated revenue of more than $100,000 to benefit the Montana Common Schools Trust.