Hill County jobless rate down slightly
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John Kelleher Havre Daily News [email protected]
Hill County's unemployment rate declined slightly in September, while the jobless rate in Montana and nationwide rose slightly. The jobless rate in Hill County was 5.1 percent, down from 5.2 percent in August, according to figures released by the state Department of Labor and Industry Montana's jobless rate was 5.9 percent, up .1 percentage point from August. The national unemployment rate went up from 9.7 percent to 9.8 percent. Montana Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly saw the bright side of the statewide increase. "Although both the Montana and national unemployment rates increased by the same percentage last month, the underlying data tell two different stories," Kelly said. "Nationally, the rate increased by only a small amount despite large job losses because of a decline in the labor force. The decline the labor force is generally seen as a sign that unemployed workers are becoming discouraged in their job search." In Montana, the jobless rate increased because more people joined the labor force. More than 1,200 Montanans joined the labor market in August, he said, causing the uptick in the jobless rate. Minor increases in joblessness were reported in Blaine and Chouteau counties, while Liberty County saw a minor decrease. Kelly noted that the consumer price index went up 0.2 percent in August. There was a general price increase in most goods except rent, he said. Over the last year, the consumer price index declined 1.3 percent, the first decline since 1991.