Lack of childcare leads to workforce shortage in Montana

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Robert Sonora

David Erickson Robert Sonora

Like the rest of the country, the pandemic hit Montana hard. The unemployment rate increased 7 percentage points in one month and initial unemployment insurance claims skyrocketed 26,000 percent in two weeks as non-essential businesses were closed down.

Economic activity came to a near standstill. Real gross state product fell almost 9% in the second quarter of 2020, about the same as the country as a whole. The U.S. fell into a recession, the deepest since the Great Depression in 1929.

The global flow of goods and services declined, leading to production shortages. The Dow Jones Industrial average fell over 50% in six weeks. The last barrel of oil traded at $37 on April 20, 2020.

Two months later, the U.S. and state economies were already showing a sharp return to some form of normalcy. Swift stimulus policy by the Federal Reserve, which reduced target interest rates to zero, and the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March of 2020

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