Counties with the highest unemployment in Montana

Written by:
February 9, 2024
Canva

Counties with the highest unemployment in Montana

While today's unemployment rates are significantly lower than the COVID-19 pandemic peak of 14.7% experienced in April 2020, the fear of job losses remains as workers stare down an uncertain economic future.

Experts are mixed in their views of a potential recession. The return of student loan payments, continually high gas prices, persistent inflation, and insurance price escalations are just a few of the factors that could limit consumer spending and potentially prompt another recession. The last economic recession before the pandemic—the Great Recession of 2007-09—sent unemployment rates up to 10% as of October 2009, and a full recovery took years.

But as of January 2024, the national unemployment rate remains relatively low at 3.7%—unchanged from the previous month and up slightly from January 2023. Regional and state employment varies widely depending on local economies. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates by state demonstrate a rather sizable spectrum, ranging from just 1.9% in Maryland to 5.4% in Nevada.

Stacker compiled a list of counties with the highest unemployment rates in Montana using Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Counties are ranked by their preliminary unemployment rate in December 2023, with initial ties broken by the number of unemployed people within that county, though some ties may remain. County unemployment rates are released about a month behind the national numbers. County-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

1 / 56
Teresa Otto // Shutterstock

#56. Carter County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 2.2%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 687 people (15 unemployed)

2 / 56
Canva

#55. McCone County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 2.3%
--- 1-month change: No change
--- 1-year change: Up 0.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 985 people (23 unemployed)

3 / 56
Canva

#54. Daniels County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 2.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.5 percentage points
- Total labor force: 885 people (21 unemployed)

4 / 56
George Sc // Shutterstock

#53. Fallon County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 2.5%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.1 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.9 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,661 people (42 unemployed)

5 / 56
Canva

#52. Gallatin County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 2.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.2 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 81,948 people (2,157 unemployed)

6 / 56
Canva

#51. Sheridan County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 2.8%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,739 people (49 unemployed)

7 / 56
Benjamin Clapp // Shutterstock

#50. Treasure County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 2.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 345 people (10 unemployed)

8 / 56
Laurens Hoddenbagh // Shutterstock

#49. Valley County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.0%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.0 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 3,992 people (119 unemployed)

9 / 56
davidrh // Shutterstock

#48. Stillwater County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.0%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.9 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 5,456 people (162 unemployed)

10 / 56
Canva

#47. Prairie County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.1%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Down 0.3 percentage points
- Total labor force: 685 people (21 unemployed)

11 / 56
Canva

#46. Liberty County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.1%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.9 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.9 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,025 people (32 unemployed)

12 / 56
Canva

#45. Sweet Grass County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.1%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,948 people (60 unemployed)

13 / 56
Canva

#44. Judith Basin County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.2%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,015 people (32 unemployed)

14 / 56
Canva

#43. Dawson County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.2%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.6 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 4,401 people (141 unemployed)

15 / 56
Canva

#42. Beaverhead County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.2%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.9 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 5,239 people (167 unemployed)

16 / 56
Canva

#41. Hill County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.2%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 7,785 people (253 unemployed)

17 / 56
Canva

#40. Lewis and Clark County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.2%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.6 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 39,658 people (1,277 unemployed)

18 / 56
Canva

#39. Powder River County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,010 people (33 unemployed)

19 / 56
Canva

#38. Meagher County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,054 people (35 unemployed)

20 / 56
Canva

#37. Powell County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 3,103 people (107 unemployed)

21 / 56
Canva

#36. Richland County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.9 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 5,817 people (196 unemployed)

22 / 56
panoglobe // Shutterstock

#35. Toole County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.5%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.1 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.7 percentage points
- Total labor force: 2,120 people (74 unemployed)

23 / 56
Canva

#34. Yellowstone County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.5%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.9 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.3 percentage points
- Total labor force: 86,718 people (3,021 unemployed)

24 / 56
Canva

#33. Petroleum County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.6%
--- 1-month change: Down 1.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 277 people (10 unemployed)

25 / 56
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#32. Pondera County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.0 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.3 percentage points
- Total labor force: 2,669 people (95 unemployed)

26 / 56
Canva

#31. Madison County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.6%
--- 1-month change: Down 0.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.7 percentage points
- Total labor force: 5,347 people (195 unemployed)

27 / 56
Canva

#30. Carbon County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 5,797 people (211 unemployed)

28 / 56
Canva

#29. Custer County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.0 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 6,366 people (232 unemployed)

29 / 56
Canva

#28. Deer Lodge County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.7%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.0 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 5,474 people (205 unemployed)

30 / 56
Canva

#27. Park County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.7%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.7 percentage points
- Total labor force: 10,214 people (375 unemployed)

31 / 56
Canva

#26. Fergus County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.8%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.6 percentage points
- Total labor force: 5,859 people (225 unemployed)

32 / 56
davidrh // Shutterstock

#25. Jefferson County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.8%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 6,281 people (236 unemployed)

33 / 56
Canva

#24. Chouteau County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.6 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.9 percentage points
- Total labor force: 2,563 people (99 unemployed)

34 / 56
Ian William Hromada // Shutterstock

#23. Teton County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.0 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 2,823 people (109 unemployed)

35 / 56
Canva

#22. Broadwater County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.6 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 2,902 people (113 unemployed)

36 / 56
TylorOlsen // Shutterstock

#21. Ravalli County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.9 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.9 percentage points
- Total labor force: 22,293 people (867 unemployed)

37 / 56
Canva

#20. Cascade County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.0 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 40,233 people (1,574 unemployed)

38 / 56
Canva

#19. Missoula County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.9 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.3 percentage points
- Total labor force: 69,065 people (2,704 unemployed)

39 / 56
Canva

#18. Wibaux County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 2.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 447 people (19 unemployed)

40 / 56
Canva

#17. Wheatland County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 767 people (33 unemployed)

41 / 56
Canva

#16. Phillips County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 0.3 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,786 people (77 unemployed)

42 / 56
Canva

#15. Musselshell County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.6 percentage points
- Total labor force: 2,443 people (104 unemployed)

43 / 56
Canva

#14. Blaine County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 2,227 people (98 unemployed)

44 / 56
Logan Bush // Shutterstock

#13. Rosebud County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.2 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.3 percentage points
- Total labor force: 3,496 people (153 unemployed)

45 / 56
Christopher Boswell // Shutterstock

#12. Silver Bow County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.1 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.6 percentage points
- Total labor force: 18,125 people (804 unemployed)

46 / 56
Canva

#11. Golden Valley County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.5%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 2.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 378 people (17 unemployed)

47 / 56
Canva

#10. Flathead County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.7%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.6 percentage points
- Total labor force: 53,604 people (2,506 unemployed)

48 / 56
Andrew Fuller // Shutterstock

#9. Roosevelt County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.6 percentage points
- Total labor force: 4,351 people (214 unemployed)

49 / 56
Canva

#8. Lake County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.0 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 2.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 14,379 people (701 unemployed)

50 / 56
Canva

#7. Granite County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.5 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.6 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,703 people (92 unemployed)

51 / 56
Canva

#6. Garfield County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 2.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 756 people (42 unemployed)

52 / 56
Canva

#5. Big Horn County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.7%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 4,686 people (268 unemployed)

53 / 56
Drew Halverson // Shutterstock

#4. Sanders County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 6.0%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 5,581 people (334 unemployed)

54 / 56
Dirk Wierenga // Shutterstock

#3. Glacier County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 6.2%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.5 percentage points
- Total labor force: 5,666 people (353 unemployed)

55 / 56
melissamn // Shutterstock

#2. Lincoln County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 6.4%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 8,781 people (558 unemployed)

56 / 56
Danita Delimont // Shutterstock

#1. Mineral County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 6.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.5 percentage points
- Total labor force: 1,842 people (121 unemployed)

This story features data reporting by Paxtyn Merten and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 50 states.

Trending Now