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Top 5 industries in Montana: Which Parts of the Economy Are Strongest?

By    |   Monday, 13 Apr 2015 05:07 PM

Think Montana, and you think mining. Add in all that open space, and you can’t help but think of agriculture. The state’s industry is easy to summarize this way: agriculture first, followed by travel and tourism, timber and mining. But rankings often differ, and a look at different criteria at different times presents a picture of continually evolving industries in Montana.

Livestock and agriculture are massive sources of income for the state. The Montana Department of Agriculture’s own Web site says “agriculture is our business” and ranks agriculture as the state’s “number one industry and growing,” with wheat listed as the state’s No. 1 export, mostly to Asia.

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However, rankings of industry and employment generally separate into “farm and nonfarm” industries. Montana’s top 5 industries, as ranked by Boston College according to percentage of the state’s gross domestic product in 2005, were:
  1. Real estate, rental and leasing, (11.8 percent)
  2. State and local government, (10.9 percent)
  3. Health care and social assistance, (9 percent)
  4. Retail trade, (7.2 percent)
  5. Construction, (6.7 percent)
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The “Montana Economy at a Glance” document on the website of the state’s Department of Labor and Industry ranks by employment totals. Using October 2014 preliminary figures, it breaks down this way:
  1. Trade, transport, and utilities (92,900 people)
  2. Government (88,800 people)
  3. Leisure and hospitality (61,100 people)
  4. Professional and business services (40,800 people)
  5. Manufacturing (19,300 people)
  6. In a state known for its copper mining, the category of natural resources and mining came in sixth at 9,600 people.
Adding everything up to measure “direct impact” and “indirect impact” on the state’s economy, Montana Ambassadors, an organization of state business leaders, ranks the state’s industries thusly:
  1. Construction $6.1 billion ($9.1 billion; 101,868 jobs)
  2. Health Care $4.9 billion ($6.8 billion; 60,500 jobs)
  3. Agriculture $4.1 billion (gross economic output, 6.9 billion; 141,600 jobs)
  4. Mining $3.5 billion (5.1 billion, 29,593 jobs)
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Think Montana, and you think mining. Add in all that open space, and you can't help but think of agriculture. The state's industry is easy to summarize this way: agriculture first, followed by travel and tourism, timber and mining.
industries, montana, economy
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2015-07-13
Monday, 13 Apr 2015 05:07 PM
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