Volume 43, Number 3, Autumn  2005

Boom, Bust, or Bubble?

Experts See Positive Trends in Montana’s Real Estate Market


Amy Joyner

Across Montana, real estate is selling at prices that would have been unimaginable 15 years ago. Developers in many Montana cities are seeking government approval and community acceptance for highly compacted neighborhoods with small, closely built homes. On the market’s flip side, builders report continued demand for million- or multi-million-dollar properties in Montana’s resort communities. Whether the homes are large or small, no one can dispute the real estate boom’s significant impact on Montana’s economy. But how long can these market trends continue?

Losing Economic Ground

Death Rates and Poverty Rates are High Among Montana’s Children


Steve Seninger and Daphne Herling

With more than 40,000 children living below the federal poverty level, the state seems to be losing economic ground. In the past two years, Montana has seen a 7 percent increase in the number of children living in poverty and a 10 percent increase in families participating in the federal assistance program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Montana’s infant mortality rates have also been above the U.S. rate since 2000. Prompted by the state’s high death rates among children, Montana KIDS COUNT conducted a study on child mortality. The analysis examined epidemiological, social, and economic factors that tended to have a statistical impact on infant child mortality rates.

Recruitment, Retention, and Salaries of Montana Teachers


Christiana Stoddard and Douglas J. Young

Are low salaries encouraging teachers to leave Montana? How many Montana-trained educators leave the state to teach? How would higher salaries affect recruitment and retention in Montana? To address these questions, we analyzed salaries, turnover, difficulty hiring, and other dimensions of recruitment and retention, and compared them to other states in the West.

Economic Impacts of Hurricane Katrina


Paul E. Polzin

No corner of the United States will escape this year’s hurricane season untouched. In Montana, the major economic impacts will be higher prices for energy and for some consumer products. However the state’s overall economic growth is not likely to be significantly reduced because its basic industries won’t be drastically impacted by Katrina.