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Economist: Graying workforce continued challenge for Montana businesses

Posted at 11:01 PM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 01:01:21-04

BILLINGS- That gray hair some see in the mirror is a direct reflection of Montana’s workforce challenges today.

The University of Montana research and business department came to Billings Tuesday with a warning about a silver tsunami threatening the state.

A new report from UM shows Montana has the oldest average workforce in the region. In 2021, the largest number of residents in the state will be age 66.

Patrick Barkey, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, says the aging population spells labor challenges ahead.

But the Montana economy continues to do well, he added – 10 years of growth and a strong outlook have business people optimistic about the future.

Barkey says tech-related businesses and the construction industry remain healthy. Real estate and financial institutions are set for another good year.  Areas of concern are the uncertainties for energy and natural resource producers.