Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Uncertainty is the keyword for the state's economy in the coming months, according to Dr. Patrick Barkey, Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana.

Montana is Headed into Uncertain Economic Times

Barkey appeared on Friday’s Talk Back show and shared his thoughts as he and his staff prepare for the upcoming statewide Economic Forums starting later this month.

“We're at a turning point in the economy, and there are a lot of question marks out there, particularly for people who are running businesses across Montana,” began Barkey. “There's a lot of good news in the rearview mirror and a lot of uncertainty ahead of us, and there are some things that Montanans need to know. For example, when you take inflation into account, what looked like a good money wage year for Montana workers ended up being one of the weakest years on record because in terms of spending power, making more money, but having prices go up even faster is how to go in reverse.”

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“I think there's also plenty of stories about why Montana's tax revenues were so strong in the last couple of fiscal years, and what's likely to happen in the future for that because it's been a real roller coaster for the economy,” he said. “It's a down-up if you will. A very sharp down in the pandemic, and a very sharp up in the recovery. It's natural to think that what happened last year is going to continue this year, but I think that's a very doubtful proposition as we start 2023.”

Regarding the upcoming statewide economic forum, Barkey spoke highly of his former colleague at the Bureau of Business and Economic Research Bryce Ward, who will be one of the key presenters.

“Bryce Ward used to work for us as our associate director, and now he's founded his own consulting company,” he said. “He's really well positioned to talk about the theme of what we call the ‘new Montana’, the ‘future Montana’. He’ll be looking at the really remarkable changes that have occurred in the state just in the last couple of years, where so many people have moved to the state, and not only in numbers but in terms of who and what kind of people they are.”

Click to Learn More about the Economic Outlook Seminars

Barkey provided more information about the live Economic Outlook Seminars that run from January 24 through March 15 with several stops in Montana cities.

“For the 48th year, our research center is putting on half-day programs across the state,” he said. “You can go to Economic Outlook Seminar.com for details, and it includes lunch. It's a full lineup of speakers about the outlook for specific industries as well as the outlook for some of the things we've been talking about in this (Talk Back) program. It is an attempt by our center to deliver information about Montana and Montana specifically. We will look at the industries that are critical for Montana and it will be a gathering of decision-makers and business folks who are involved in the economies in every region.”

Click here for details and how to register for the Economic Outlook Seminars.

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