Flathead Valley unemployment rate increases in January

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Flathead County’s unemployment rate ticked up to 6.7 percent in January, an increase from 5.2 percent in December, the Montana Department of Labor said Monday.

Surrounding Northwest Montana counties also showed jobless rates worsening over the winter.

Lincoln County posted 8 percent unemployment in January, but in January was in the double digits, at 11.1 percent. Sanders County increased from 6.3 percent to 9.7 percent, while Lake County’s jobless rate rose from 4.3 percent to 6 percent in January.

Statewide, the unemployment rate inched up to 3.8 percent for the month of January, up 0.1 percentage points from December, likely reflecting impacts from the federal government shutdown. The national unemployment rate also increased by a tenth of a percentage point up to 4.0 percent.

“It’s clear that the federal government shutdown negatively impacted our economic growth and the federal workers who had to go without their paychecks,” Gov. Steve Bullock said in a prepared statement. “Despite this, we continue to add jobs to our economy, and we will continue to ensure businesses can find skilled and trained workers and Montanans can access the good jobs needed to climb the ladder of opportunity.”

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