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Unemployment declining in Flathead County

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Sep 23 2013 06:38:23 PM MDT
Updated On: Sep 23 2013 08:25:51 PM MDT
KALISPELL, Mont. -

Unemployment in the Flathead has already dropped over 4.5 percent since the beginning of 2013, and the county is already setting record lows that haven't been seen since 2008.

We read the reports and found Flathead's unemployment has been dropping every month this year.  This rate this August was 6 percent.

“Things are looking a lot better and have been for a while," said Flathead County Job Service Manager Bill Nelson.  He has ridden the unemployment rollercoaster here for years.

He can't forget the high in 2011, which was 14.1 percent.

"We've been noticing an improvement for the last year to 18 months or so," Nelson said.

With a new Cabela's store opening on November 7 and the Kalispell bypass being built behind that, retail and construction are two types of jobs that Nelson tells us have seen some growth over the last year.

Currently the job service has 450 job postings. We looked through the listings to see what types of jobs there were, and like Nelson had said, construction and retail jobs were everywhere.

Nelson tells us having 450 jobs posted is a good number, especially considering where they were a few years ago.

"We've had as few as 50 or 60, three or four winters ago, so we're looking much better," Nelson said.

Nelson hopes this 5-year low sticks around for awhile.

"As more people get jobs they're out spending, they have more discretionary money.  So they're spending more, so employers are hiring more people in retail and food services and things."

Nelson tells us he expects the unemployment numbers to jump a little bit in the winter months.

That's due to a decrease in seasonal jobs that aren't available in the winter.