Volume 45, Number 2, Summer  2007

Global Warming

Unexpected Impacts on Montana's Economy


Shannon Furniss

In Montana, the most noticeable signals for climate change include an earlier snow melt, an earlier start to the spring growing season, and a more pronounced mid-summer drought period. In a roundtable discussion, Steve Running, a UM climate scientist, talked with economists, industry experts, and editors about global warming trends that are occurring in Montana. Industry experts then discussed what these warming trends might mean for Montana's important industries: tourism, forest products, energy, agriculture, and health care.

Montana's Economy

All Sectors Contribute to Recent Growth


Paul E. Polzin

For the fifth straight month, Montana's unemployment rate has come in at less than 3.0 percent. In fact, the latest data released by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry confirmed this trend indicating a 2.3 percent unemployment rate for the state. The continued low unemployment rates can be credited to Montana's economic boom. There are multiple causes for this economic boom including the state's energy/commodity boom, increases in the manufacturing industries, and increases in federal government employment.

Digital Divide

Montana's Children Face Technological Challenges


Daphne Herling

Research shows that the use of technology, such as the Internet, has positive impacts on health outcomes and academic performance; it also provides economic opportunity to young people and increases civic involvement in local communities. However, if a child lives in a low-income, rural household, his or her chances of getting online are diminished. In Montana, 34 percent of the state's children live in households earning $30,000 or less and most of the state is considered rural. With these factors combined, Montana must work hard to overcome a growing digital divide.

Monitoring Montana Through BEA Data


Amy Joyner

Business people, government officials, and community development planners are but a few of Montana's leaders who must use accurate and current information to complete their daily tasks. However, finding and accessing data may be a problem. That is why earlier this summer, economists met at a Bureau seminar to discuss the data available from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and how to access it on their interactive Web site.

Health Care Research

Providing Montanans with Data


Pat Barkey

No matter where you live, health care isn't just another item on the shopping list. We don't consider it a luxury, yet we often pay what seems like a very luxurious price for it. It's that way all over the country, and everyone, it seems, has his or her favorite solution to the problem. Understanding which solutions can help and which might make problems worse is what health care data gathering and careful research should be helping us sort out for Montana.