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Volume 53, Number 3, Autumn  2015

Getting the News

Technology Changes Habits


John Baldridge and Bill Whitsitt

Montanans highly value their news and are increasingly using mobile devices to access news over the Internet. Montanans in every age group - including 65 and older- are reading the latest news stories on phones, tablets and computers. In a world with a growing wealth of Internet-based information, some vital questions were recently addressed by first-of-its-kind, Montana-based survey research conducted by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research for the Greater Montana Foundation on important issues facing Montana.The findings of the survey are especially important since they come at a time of revolutionary changes in media technology, in addition to the growth in Internet use worldwide and in Montana.

Montana''s Labor Shortage and Paid Family Leave

Recruiting Workers by Supporting Families


Annie Glover

In the next 10 years, at least 130,000 working Montanans will retire. With an aging population, Montana''s labor force will only grow by 4,100 workers per year for the next 10 years (Wagner, 2015). Given current trends, there will simply not be enough workers to fill the projected annual job growth of 6,500 to continue to grow Montana''s economy. Montana must find strategies to increase labor force participation so businesses have the workers they need.

Employees to Labor Secretary: Flexible Workplace is Key to Happy, Committed Employees


Shannon Furniss

When Iris Owen found out she was pregnant with twins, she was thrilled- and then terrified. A certified public accountant at Anderson ZurMuehlen''s Missoula office, Owen didn''t know how she would be able to continue her career with not just one, but two infants. After the twins were born, Owen had a few health complications and took four months off to stay at home. "If I didn''t work for a company that was so supportive, I might not have gone back to work," she said. Now her girls are 18 months old, and the tax accountant has a flexible schedule, working more hours January through April (tax season) and three-quarters time during the rest of the year.

The Complex Causes of the Gender Pay Gap


Barbara Wagner

In the United States, women earn median wages that are 71 percent of the median earnings for men. In Montana, this figure is 68 percent. The gap between the median wages for men and women is referred to as the gender wage gap. The gap between the median wages for men and women is referred to as the gender wage gap. The gap between men''s and women''s wages exists in nearly every occupation in all industries, in every state, across countries, at all education levels, and in the private, government and nonprofit sectors. While the gender pay gap is improving, the narrowing is happening at such a slow pace that it would take until 2058 to reach gender pay equity (Hayes, 2013).

How Montana is Faring in the Post-Commodity Boom Economy


Patrick M. Barkey

If you enjoy sleepless nights and watching your hair fall out, then perhaps you should get into the commodity business. The big swings that occur in commodity prices, often due to speculation or events half a world away, make the business of prediction an exceedingly risky one. Yet Montana producers of all kinds of commodities have been mostly winning in the marketplace the better part of the last decade. Sustained high prices for everything from oil to beef have added spark to the state economy and kept tax coffers in Helena flush.