What Businesses Have Greatest Number of Employee “Quitters”

It probably comes as no surprise that the one industry that has the highest turnover in employees is the Accommodation and Food Services businesses. The industry has provided entry level positions to the world of work for generations. But, a study by Career Trends now makes it official.

Williston Economic Development

“Williston is still open for business,” assured Shawn Wenko, Director of the Williston Economic Development agency, in a recent written comment. While expecting 2016 to be a quiet year, Wenko said, the oil and gas industry will recover, and this is a time to build for the future.
The development of the Bakken oil propelled Williston onto the national stage, and it became the fastest growing small city in the nation. Williston tripled in population and in land mass.

Manufacturers Show 57% Positive About Outlook

According to an annual Manufacturers Outlook Survey conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers, 56.6 percent of manufacturers were either somewhat or very positive about their own company’s outlook, representing the fifth consecutive quarter in which confidence has dropped. As recently as the fourth quarter of 2014, the figure was 91.2 percent. The current figure is the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2012.

Millennials Traveling Share the Road

While Montana had an increase in the number of visitors to the state, the amount of money they spent went down, reported Norma Nickerson, Director of the Institute for Travel and Recreational Research at the University of Montana, at the Montana Economic Outlook Seminar.
The Montana nonresident travel industry has a $5 billion impact on the state.

ExporTech Comes to Montana to Help Manufacturers

ExporTech, a nationally-recognized program that helps small and mid-sized manufacturers take advantage of growth opportunities in global markets, is coming to Montana in April. ExporTech is the only national program that helps companies develop an export plan.

Health Care Costs Increase

The cost of health care has increased between 500 and 600 percent in inflation adjusted dollars since the mid-70s. Its costs have grown faster than the rest of the economy.
And, while the rate of growth slowed over the past several years, that’s expected to change in the near future, according to Bryce Ward, Bureau of Business and Economic Research in presenting to attendees of the Montana Economic Outlook Seminar in Billings. Heath care costs are projected to continue to grow at rates much higher than the rest of the economy, essentially because of aging baby boomers who will be using more of it, and because of the increased number of insured, who tend to increase consumption of health care services.

BNSF Railway Trims Freight Rates

BNSF Railway, Montana’s primary freight carrier, has announced a decrease in its tariff rates for shipments of wheat in the Northern states. BNSF’s Vice-President of Ag Products, John Miller discussed the reduction of wheat rates by $100 per car with a meeting of farm group leaders in Great Falls, recently. Miller indicated that this rate reduction is market-based, and should help move burdensome stocks of wheat to export markets, as well as to domestic customers. Recent reductions in fuel costs, plus lower export volumes, were factors in the action by BNSF. Miller also noted that pulse rates are lowered by $75 per car.

Economy: Nothing Spectacular Expected

“We are set for broader growth in the state, but we are not looking for anything spectacular because of the global environment,” proclaimed Montana’s top economist Patrick Barkey, Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, in presenting to the audience of the Montana Economic Seminar in Billings, early this month.
Barkey projected the state to experience a growth of about 2.9 percent in 2016 – “a pretty optimistic forecast.”
While Yellowstone County’s economy is projected to continue to grow at around 3 percent, in 2016 and through 2019, the Billings area may begin to see more significant impacts from the decline of oil prices – and ag prices, which are all lower than a year ago.

Market Update

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2 S&P 2,331.25
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3 NASDAQ 5,804.16
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4 MDU 26.82
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5 SWC 17.40
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6 EBMT 19.85
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7 FIBK 38.20
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8 GBCI 32.11
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