Volume 58, Number 3, Fall  2020

Click image for PDF of full issue.

Tracking the Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism

The Travel Industry Struggles to Rebound in Montana


Jeremy Sage

The University of Montana?s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR) routinely monitors the tourism and recreation industries of Montana. They largely do this via on the ground surveyors stationed throughout the state. These efforts result in the ability to provide estimates of the number of visitors to the state, how much they spend, and how that spending impacts the state?s economy. Recognizing a massive upheaval was on the horizon for tourism in Montana, and the impending inability to interact with visitors face-to-face, ITRR began a series of secondary information surveys. Its purpose was to gauge the potential impacts of the pandemic to Montana?s tourism industry, as felt by travelers and businesses. The series showed how concerns over health and the economy impacted the tourism industry, as the virus spread and governmental actions took hold.

Child Care Gap is Costing Montana Millions

The Impact of Inadequate Child Care on Families, Employers and the State


Robert Sonora, Thale Dillon and John Baldridge

It?s no secret that child care can be costly and inadequate child care can contribute to a host of issues, including job selection, absenteeism and work performance. That can in turn can affect one?s earning potential, as well as the earning potential of employers and the greater state economy. Put it all together and Montana loses $232 million a year due to inadequate child care.

Mapping the COVID-19 Recession

How Are Montana and Its Metropolitan Areas Fairing?


Paul E. Polzin

A discussion of the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic seen through the lens of the Current Employment Survey (CES). Each month the U.S. Bureau of the Labor Statistics surveys about 697,000 work sites in the country and tallies the number of workers, as of the 12th of the month. The number of workers are reported nationwide, statewide and for each major metropolitan statistical area (MSA).

The Looming Vote on Recreational Marijuana in Montana

Is the Cost Greater Than the Benefit?


Robert Sonora

This November, Montanans will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana. There are two items are on the ballot this election season. The first is CI-118, which amends the Montana Constitution to include language to establish the legal age for owning, consuming, and/or possessing marijuana; making it the same as for alcohol. The second ballot initiative is the Marijuana Legalization and Tax Initiative (I-190), which legalizes marijuana for consumption and possession of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. A recent study completed by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research found that legalizing recreational marijuana could contribute an additional $43 million to Montana?s general fund in 2022, increasing sin tax revenues by 50%. Given the current economic environment, with slowing household income and increases in transfer payments, a new revenue stream could help reduce red ink.