The Gallatin County and southwest Montana, along with a few select regions in the state, have helped raise the average wage for the state and lower unemployment numbers.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle analyzed numbers released by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry and split the state into its major regions.
The Billings region, lead Montana with an average wage of $40,733 in 2013. Southwestern Montana came in just behind that with an average wage of $39,698. In Gallatin County, 66% of its residents earned their income through a wage or salary disbursement.
Despite the Gallatin County leading the state in economic growth, the average wage still came in second to the Billings region. Perhaps the slightly lower wages reflect the consequences of being a major tourist hub for the state. In an area with high tourism, many retail and service industry jobs that pay minimum or close to minimum wage will find greater success. The minimum wage was raised from $7.90 an hour to $8.05 an hour across the state at the beginning of 2015.
The highest earners in the state were physicians and surgeons at $243,000 per year. The lowest average wage came from gaming dealers—at $18,150 a year.
Montana and the Gallatin County both had unemployment rates below national averages. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the United States currently sits at 5.7 percent. Currently, 4.4% of Montanans are unemployed. In Gallatin County, only 3.6% of people are unemployed.