Montana’s unemployment rate remained pretty much unchanged during the final month of the holiday season. State Senior Economist Barbara Wagner explains.

"Montana's unemployment rate is at 4.1% in December, that is the most recent month we have available," said Wagner. "It is actually exactly even with the U.S. rate this month, which is a long time coming. The U.S. took a long time to recover from the recession where as the Montana unemployment rate has been low for quite some time."

There was a lot of growth in payroll jobs though… at least compared to the rest of the country.

"The good news here is that our payroll employment growth over the last month was the second fastest state in the whole nation," Wagner said. "We added about 4,000 jobs in the last month. Maryland lost about 20,000 jobs over the last month and that seems like a lot. Wyoming is the fastest percentage of growth."

When asked if there was a regional shift in payroll jobs for mid-western states like Wyoming and Montana, Wagner said it was too soon to tell if December is part of a larger jobs trend.