Missoula, MT – December 2023 Jobs Report – Mountain Town Momentum Fuels Job Growth

Missoula’s job market closed out 2023 with robust momentum, adding 530 jobs in December and solidifying its position as one of Montana’s top economic engines. The unemployment rate held steady at a healthy 3%, mirroring the statewide average.


  • Missoula County added 1,230 jobs throughout 2023, ranking second only to Gallatin County in job creation across the state.
  • Growth was broad-based, with most major industries expanding.
  • Professional and business services, healthcare, and leisure and hospitality led the charge, adding 200, 180, and 100 jobs, respectively.
  • Despite national economic concerns, the Missoula job market remained resilient and continued its upward trajectory.

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

  • Professional and business services: This broad category, encompassing everything from accounting to engineering, saw continued expansion, particularly in areas like data analysis and software development.
  • Healthcare: The growing healthcare sector added jobs in both medical and administrative roles, reflecting Missoula’s expanding medical facilities and aging population.
  • Leisure and hospitality: Tourism played a significant role in December’s job gains, with hotels, restaurants, and outdoor recreation businesses adding staff to meet holiday demand.
  • Other notable growth sectors: Construction, education, and retail also posted job gains in December.

What Industries and Occupations Shrank:

  • Mining and logging: These resource-based industries experienced slight job losses as commodity prices remained volatile.
  • Agriculture: The agricultural sector typically sees seasonal job reductions in the winter months.

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

  • Missoula’s job growth outpaced the national average in December 2023, adding jobs while many other cities saw stagnation or job losses.
  • Compared to December 2022, Missoula County added 360 jobs, representing a 3.1% increase in total employment.

Compare to Previous Month:

  • December’s job gains followed a slight slowdown in November, suggesting continued but more moderate growth in the coming months.
  • The December unemployment rate remained unchanged from November, indicating stability in the local labor market.

Future Outlook:

  • Economists predict continued job growth in Missoula in 2024, albeit at a slightly slower pace than in 2023.
  • Factors driving future growth include ongoing infrastructure projects, a thriving tech sector, and Missoula’s reputation as an attractive place to live and work.
  • Challenges could arise from national economic headwinds and potential labor shortages in certain sectors.

10 Growing Occupations:

  1. Software developers
  2. Registered nurses
  3. Physician assistants
  4. Customer service representatives
  5. Retail salespersons
  6. Construction laborers
  7. General and operations managers
  8. Truck drivers
  9. Accountants and auditors
  10. Teachers

10 Companies Hiring Now:

  1. Providence St. Patrick Hospital
  2. The University of Montana
  3. Blackfoot Communications
  4. Glacier National Park
  5. First Interstate Bank
  6. St. Regis Hotels & Resorts
  7. Logjam Productions
  8. Van Doren Lumber
  9. Mountain Line Transit
  10. REI

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