Flathead jobless rate lowest since 2008

Print Article

Flathead County’s unemployment rate has dipped to its lowest point since 2008, according to Kalispell Job Service Manager Laura Gardner, who has tracked local employment trends for years.

The county posted a 3.3% jobless rate in July, down from 4% in June, according to the state Department of Labor.

Gardner said a shortage of labor, rather than jobs, is the chief concern in Flathead County.

“Employers are just crying for help,” she said. “A lot of that’s because we have so many businesses and services from Glacier National Park traffic and employers are struggling to fill” that demand, she explained. Seasonal positions and jobs in tourism are a particular issue for Flathead County.

But Gardner pointed out the types of businesses affected by the labor shortage are “all over the place.”

“The service industry is huge,” as it relates to this shortage, but she noted it affects sectors like health care and construction as well. “Across the board, people just can’t find enough workers,” she insisted.

One reason for the difficulty in filling positions here, Gardner suggested, is the lack of affordable housing. “Housing is hard to find, so that’s an issue there,” she noted. This difficulty can prevent potential new employees from coming to the area and filling those needs.

“The labor force has increased,” she pointed out. The total current employment of Flathead County was 48,261 in July. This total was an increase from 47,182 in June.

But despite the increase, Gardner said Flathead County employers are “still having trouble” meeting their needs.

At Kalispell Job Service, she said she advises employers to address this issue by looking at “untapped labor” sources, such as disabled workers, older or younger workers or workers with felonies.

“Think outside the box,” she urged.

Montana’s unemployment rate reached a 10-year-low in July for a second consecutive month. The statewide rate declined to 3.4% and the rate for Flathead County fell to 3.3%. Both rates are below the national rate, which persisted steadily at 3.7%.

Rates fell from June to July across the state and in local counties, according to the state Department of Labor. The statewide rate showed a slight dip from 3.5% in June to 3.4% in July.

Sanders and Lincoln Counties saw the most significant decreases of 0.8 percentage points. Sanders County had 4.3% unemployment and Lincoln County reached 5% in July. Lake County decreased from 3.8% to 3.4% in the same time period.

Total employment, which includes agricultural, payroll and self-employed workers, indicated a gain of 1,371 jobs in July, while the labor force grew by 791.”

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at bserbin@dailyinterlake.com or 758-4459.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Kalispell seeks assistance in retaining forest access

February 17, 2020 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake The Kalispell City Council is endeavoring to secure assistance from state and federal officials to maintain access to the forestlands Weyerhaeuser is selling off around Kalispell. At the City Council...

Comments

Read More

Whitefish council considers changes to utility rules, fees

February 17, 2020 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake The Whitefish City Council will consider updating the city’s rules and regulations and revising fees for water, sewer and garbage utilities at its meeting on Tuesday. According to a staff report b...

Comments

Read More

Bigfork blaze destroys Eagle Bend clubhouse

February 16, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Daily Inter Lake A fire destroyed the clubhouse at Eagle Bend Golf Club early Sunday morning in Bigfork. No one was injured in the fire. Bigfork Fire Department Chief Mark Thiry said the call came in at 2 a.m. when...

Comments

Read More

Couple opens Bigfork’s first pet supply store

February 16, 2020 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Julie and Steve Johannes quietly opened the first pet store in Bigfork two weeks ago. “There’s not a lot of places doing what we’re doing,” Julie said. What they’re doing at Powder Hounds in the Bra...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2020 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X