MONTANA BUSINESS QUARTERLY

Current Issue


Volume 52, Number 1, Spring  2014

Economic Outlook


Q&A with Montana's Top Economists and Industry Experts

by

MBQ Staff

Q&A with Montana''s leading economists and industry experts on economic issues facing Montana.

U.S. Economic Outlook


Is this Finally "Next Year"?

by

Patrick M. Barkey

Forecasts for the U.S. economy have called for sluggish growth this year, with better growth next year. But each year in this sluggish recovery, the goalposts are moved back and we must again wait for better growth "next year." Has "next year" finally arrived in 2014?


Montana Economic Outlook


The West is Back

by

Patrick M. Barkey

Reversing a decades-long trend, it was the rural, eastern counties that led the state in growth and the more populous western counties that suffered the steepest declines.


Silver Bow-Deer Lodge Economy


Serving Southwestern Montana

by

Paul E. Polzin

The economies of Butte and Anaconda have long been intertwined. Copper used to be the connecting link; it was mined in Silver Bow County and refined in Deer Lodge County. But now the connections is workers.


Cascade County


Stability, Stability, Stability

by

Paul E. Polzin

Great Falls continues as the dominant urban area in north central Montana. A strong health care industry, combined with the stability of the military, has meant that the Cascade County economy escaped most of the ups and downs associated with the Great Recession.


Fergus County Outlook


Recovering from the Recession

by

Paul E. Polzin

The Great Recession hit the Lewistown economy, with the greatest impacts in construction and manufacturing.


Flathead County


Climbing Out of the Recession Hole

by

Paul E. Polzin

The Great Recession hit the Flathead economy hard. But, unlike some other parts of western Montana, the Flathead economy recovered quickly and is now growing moderately.


Gallatin County


Data Muddied by RightNow Technologies Sale

by

Paul E. Polzin

Gallatin County is tied with Flathead County and trails only Bakken-fueled Yellowstone County in terms of overall economic growth since the recession trough in 2009.


Hill County Outlook


Recession Barely Noticeable

by

Paul E. Polzin

The Great Recession was barely noticeable in Hill County. There were only two years with little or no growth in income.


Lewis and Clark County Outlook


Something Old, Something New

by

Patrick M. Barkey

Helena was in the news in 2013, in an unfortunate way, as sinking gold prices claimed a casualty with the closure of the Drumlummon mine. The mine''s closure was offset by surprisingly strong growth in health care, government, and government-related services industries.


Missoula County


Better Growth Ahead

by

Patrick M. Barkey

Montana''s second largest economy, home to one of the two flagship state universities as well as the state''s second largest health care delivery market, is still very much alive.


Ravalli County


Emerging from the Downturn

by

James T. Sylvester

Recent economic statistics demonstrate Ravalli County''s economy is emerging from the downturn experienced in the Great Recession.


Yellowstone County


Next Door to a Boom

by

Patrick M. Barkey

Much was expected of the Billings area economy at the beginning of the year. And for the most part, it has delivered.