Powerpoint - Headwaters Economics

An Overview of Montana’s Economy
Montana’s Economy Is Growing
and Outperforming Rest of the Nation
From 2001-2013, Montana’s employment increased substantially while total real personal income
increased by more than a third. Compared to the U.S., Montana’s real per capita income grew
nearly three times as fast.
This growth is driven by an increase in higher quality jobs, and the rapid increase of investment
and retirement income in the state.
A Mix of Industries Led Montana’s Job Growth
From 2001-2013, Montana’s economy created 79,863 net new jobs—with 78 percent coming from
service-related industries such as health care, real estate, and professional and technical services.
The State’s Industry Mix Is Diverse
Services are 67% of employment; Non-Services are 18%; and Government, mostly local, is 15%. Within
these three groupings, a wide mix of sectors—from health care (11%) to construction (7%) to
professional services (6%)—are Montana’s leading employers.
As the state’s economy diversifies, state assets—such as quality education and federal public lands—are
increasingly important to attracting businesses and people crucial to the state’s economic future.
Montana’s Population Is Growing, But Not Evenly
Changes in population growth (births and deaths and net migration) vary widely across
Montana. With these changes, seven counties today generate more than two-thirds of
all jobs and total personal income in the state.
Counties with Federal Land Attract Workers and Retirees
During the past ten years, Montana counties with a higher share of federal lands have
outperformed counties with a smaller share of federal lands, attracting a higher rate of inmigration and more overall population growth.
The Fastest Growing Counties Are Diverse Economically, And
Have Access to Public Lands
The top five fastest growing Montana counties during the 2003-2012 time period combined
nearby public lands and a diversity of growing economic sectors.
Baby Boomers Are Moving
to Montana Counties with Protected Federal Lands
Counties with protected lands—such as National Parks or Wilderness—are benefitting from
Baby Boomers who are moving to counties with high natural amenities.
Non-Labor Income, from Retirees and Investments, Is
Increasingly Important Source of Montanans’ Personal Income
Non-labor income in the form of investments, along with retirement and other age-related
payments, now accounts for 42 percent of personal income in Montana, and nearly half of net new
personal income growth in the last decade. In 2013, investment and retirement-related income
represented $13.8 billion. This money in turn stimulates health care, construction, and other
And Non-Labor Income Is Growing Fast,
And Often as Large as Other Important Economic Sectors
Just the increase in investment income from 2001-2013 ($2.5 billion) was greater than all
personal income earned from construction ($2 billion) in 2013 or three times the personal
income earned in farming ($817 million) in 2013.
Same for Age-Related payments: the 2001-2013 increase ($1.6 billion) was larger than all
personal income earned from mining, including oil and natural gas ($1.2 billion) in 2013.
Federal Lands Are One of Montana’s Competitive Strengths
One-third of Montana’s land base is managed by the Forest Service, BLM, National Park Service
Protected Federal Lands Help Drive Job Growth
Percent Change in Employment, Western Non-Metro Counties, 1970-2010
Percent of
Federal Land
in County
More than 30% Protected
More than 20% Protected
Less than 10% Protected
0% Protected
During the last four decades western non-metro counties with more than 30 percent
federal protected land increased jobs four times faster than non-metro counties with no
protected federal lands (345% vs. 83%).
Protected Federal Lands Contribute to Higher Per Capita Incomes
In 2010, peer-reviewed research showed that western non-metro counties had, on average, a
per capita income that was $436 higher for every 10,000 acres of protected public land within
their boundaries. In other words, if counties A and B were identical in every way, but county A
had 50,000 acres of protected public land and county B had none, one would expect income in
county A to be $2,180 higher per person.
Data in this publication are from: U.S. Department of Commerce. 2014. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Economic
Accounts, Washington, D.C. U.S. Department of Commerce. 2013. Census Bureau, Population Division, Washington, D.C. U.S.
Geological Survey, Gap Analysis Program. 2012. Protected Areas Database of the United States (PADUS) version 1.3
Montana’s seven largest counties are Cascade, Flathead, Gallatin, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, Silver Bow, and Yellowstone.
The West is defined as the 11 public lands continental western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon,
Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
“Protected” federal lands include areas such as National Parks, Wilderness, National Monuments, National Conservation Areas,
National Recreation Areas, National Wild and Scenic Rivers, and National Wildlife Refuges. For more details, see:
For job growth, see: http://headwaterseconomics.org/land/west-is-best-value-of-public-lands; for migration and population
change, see: http://headwaterseconomics.org/interactive/migration; for non-labor income, see:
Lorah, P. R. Southwick, et al. 2003. Environmental Protection, Population Change, and Economic Development in the Rural
Western United States. Population and Environment 24(3): 255-272; McGranahan, D. A. 1999. Natural Amenities Drive Rural
Population Change. E. R. S. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Washington, D.C.
Non-Metropolitan counties are counties without an urbanized area of 50,000 or more population, or a high degree of social and
economic integration with a Metropolitan Statistical Area as measured by commuting ties.
Rasker, R., P.H. Gude, M. Delorey. 2013. The Effect of Protected Federal Lands on Economic Prosperity in the Non-Metropolitan
West. Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy.
Contact Information:
Chris Mehl
Policy Director
[email protected]

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