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Montana Slow to Grow

Montana growing slowlyMontana is traditionally one of the slowest growing states in the country because it also happens to have one of the United States’ smallest economies.  However, because Montana has one of the smallest economies in the country, it is also more sensitive to shock than other states.  This is something to consider before moving to Montana.

The state’s GDP is at about $32 billion with an annual growth rate of 1.1% in 2010.  Why is the state one of the slowest growing states in the country?  First of all, not many people move to Montana to begin with, but the economic climate doesn’t help.

Last year, one of Montana’s biggest employers and companies, Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, had to lay off more than 400 employees.  The paper mill in Missoula County was one of the area’s bigger employers.  These layoffs spread into other sectors such as logging and other manufacturers.

Because the economy is so small in Montana, a single paper mill’s closure could affect more than 3,000 jobs throughout the state eventually.  If the economy doesn’t improve, some of those people may be forced to relocate away from Montana.

A decline in the manufacturing of non-durable goods, such as paper, can put a drag on Montana’s economy – and that is exactly what happened last year.  However, we may see the state’s growth move in a positive direction very soon as experts are seeing gains in both healthcare and mining.  But, because this increase may be slower than in most other states, we may not see Montana hit the top of the list of growing states anytime soon.

Jon Huser

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