Montana Economy Finding ‘Balance’ – a ‘Healthy Recovery’ From Financial Crisis
There have been some big changes in trends in the Montana economy. UM’s Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research Patrick Barkey said there’s a lot more "balance" as well as a "healthy recovery" from the financial crisis almost nine years ago.
"what really kind of goes under the radar is the fact that Ravalli County is starting to see some good growth. We are seeing very strong growth in Flathead County. And really, we've seen continued growth in Yellowstone County," Barkey said. "In particular, Flathead and Ravalli have been two areas that were pretty hard hit, really big declines in construction, but they're starting to show their old form and growing very strongly."
Barkey said strong growth has been seen in the tourism industry as well as retail and professional services, namely consultants, lawyers and engineers and architects.
"There's pretty good momentum in many parts of the state. But the future has got some question marks," Barkey said. "People are concerned about a U.S. economic recession. There is some concerns that business spending is weak, some individual industries, particularly wood products, which have had their share of bad news in the last month or so. But one thing we can't mistake is that all of these things are really supporting the economy. You know, it looks pretty healthy today. Tomorrow is always a question mark."
Barkey said with construction on the rise and population migration resuming, businesses are seeing impacts of stronger consumer spending, too.