KGVO spoke to Montana Governor Greg Gianforte on Friday afternoon as he was touring southeastern Montana for the second time since he took office.

Gianforte specifically referenced a report released on Friday morning about a new record low state unemployment rate report.

“The Montana comeback plan is working,” said Governor Gianforte. “We see record low unemployment, in fact the fifth lowest in the entire country at 2.6 percent. It's creating tight labor markets because so many people are working. In fact we now have over 560,000 people working. This is more than ever before, so we're encouraged.”

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Gianforte said those on the job are building homes and starting businesses.

“We saw 1,300 more people go to work just last month alone,” he said. “So we're building homes, and we're going to hopefully close this housing shortage we have. There's construction going on. We also have manufacturers that are deciding to move to Montana and this is creating new jobs. In addition, we've been aggressive at the Department of Commerce in recruiting businesses to create more good paying jobs here in the state, and it's starting to show up in the numbers.”

Gianforte said wherever he travels in the state, that one common theme emerges; inflation.

“Inflation comes up in every conversation, and it means our paychecks are not going as far especially in the agriculture community,” he said. Input prices have gone up, fertilizer, diesel, have both taken a bite and everybody knows that it's just painful to go to the gas station and fill up your tank. All of this inflation is a combination of disruption in our supply chains. In addition, there’s the current anti energy policy, where we've seen this anti-American energy policy coming out of the Biden administration. It's hitting us all right in the wallet.”

Gianforte also brought up the recent record oil and gas lease sale conducted for the first time online.

“It used to be we were using stone tablets and chisels to do these auctions, but now, we're using this new thing, Peter, you might have heard of it called the Internet,” he laughed. “Now we're letting people bid online. That means people can put bids in from Houston or Boise, or from Denver. They don't have to be there in person, and it's created a better marketplace. The result was we raised almost $1.2 million from a single sale. That money is going to go into our public school system to make sure our kids are getting a brighter future.”

Montana’s total employment, which includes payroll, agricultural, and self-employed workers, rose 2,328 in February to 542,086, the highest level recorded in Montana history. While Montana’s unemployment rate was 2.6% in February, the unemployment rate for the U.S. was 3.8%.

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