The Montana Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring officials from the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research this week as they travel to several cities across the state.

Director Patrick Barkey said it’s time for a mid-year update.

“We’re going to see how Montana’s economy is faring mid year,” said Barkey. “It’s easy to be complacent about the economy because we’ve been growing for a number of years, but there are quite a few things that are changing in the economy. “

Barkey said Bryce Ward will be making the trip to talk about entrepreneurship,” he said. “He’ll talk about how we’re stacking up against other states, what we are and are not doing well. There will also be some local business people in each location to talk about their own local economies.”

Barkey said the big headline nationally is economic growth most recently at four percent.

“Things are changing for Montana, but we don’t really understand why. The revenue picture for Montana has brightened considerably with double digit growth in income tax receipts for state government over the last fiscal year, which stands in stark contrast to the last two years when there was no growth at all.”

Barkey used a school analogy to describe the growth in Montana’s economy.

“It’s like doing two letter grades better in your exam, but you’re still only up to a ‘C’,” he said. “So, it’s an enormous improvement over last year which was alarmingly bad. The context is that the growth has come from a relatively low base.”

The Economic Update Series will start on Thursday in Kalispell and make its way across the state ending in Missoula on August 9.


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