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MT jobless rate decreased in October, weekly applications up

MT jobless rate decreased in October, weekly applications up

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HELENA — Montana's unemployment rate was 4.9% in October, down from 5.4% in September, Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday.

The state's unemployment rate remained below the national average of 6.9% in October, but is still above the pre-pandemic rate of 3.5%.

The state gained 3,700 jobs from September to October, including 1,200 jobs in payroll employment. The leisure and hospitality sector was the main driver of job growth.

However, new applications for unemployment assistance in Montana rose last week, the U.S. Employment and Training Administration reported Thursday.

The number of applications submitted during the week ending Nov. 14 was 2,650, an increase of 4.5% from the previous week.

The new figures came as Bullock announced the state would provide $200 in additional weekly unemployment benefits from coronavirus relief funds for four weeks ending Dec. 19.

Since March 14, the state has processed 174,434 claims for unemployment, meaning 38% of the traditional workforce has been unemployed at some point during the pandemic.

Montana's economic recovery depends on the state's ability to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Bullock said in a statement. The state continues to report high case numbers and a growing strain on medical facilities.

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