Montana isn't in recession, economist says during Tuesday forum

Montana isn’t in recession and is still benefitting from strong job growth and wage gains that outpace inflation, but things are slowing down dramatically, said Patrick Barkey, chief economist at the Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

Giving a mid-year economic update in Billings Tuesday, Barkey noted that several things have been working in Montana’s favor. The bureau is part of the University of Montana. Agriculture prices are up considerably from a year ago, higher incomes have resulted in an unprecedented $1.8 billion revenue surplus for state government, and businesses harmed by the pandemic are almost completely reopened.

The challenge is persistent inflation outlasting the state’s economic gains.

“We’re driving along the road, as we all are, and if you look in the rearview mirror, things look just dandy,” Barkey said. “When we look ahead, there’s concern. We’re at a point where the economy is changing.”

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