Job growth up in Missoula, though wages continue to lag.
That’s the name of the story.
Let’s dig into it, eh?
First of all, for the past 3 years Missoula has had the worst personal income levels of all the major Montana cities.
Here’s what that looks like for 2015:
Missoula is the one in the grey.
Why are we making $6,000 less than people working the same jobs in Bozeman?
I have no idea.
Most of Missoula’s job growth comes about because of restaurant and fast food jobs.
Over the past 6 years we’ve had 913 new jobs in this sector.
For comparison, there have only been 142 construction jobs over the past 6 years.
That comes to 152 new food service jobs each year, and just 23 construction jobs each year.
It’s a big difference – construction jobs pay about $44,000 a year while food service jobs pay just $15,000.
That’s a difference of $29,000 a year.
In fact, those in construction often make twice as much as those in the food service industry.
I find this hard to believe, as each time I drive by a construction site there are 4 guys standing around smoking and/or shooting the shit while 1 guy is doing some kind of actual work.
Now, let’s really get into this.
When you go to the Missoula Current article you’ll see a chart near the bottom, one listing jobs and how much they make and how many have been added over the past 6 years.
If we take all the service industry jobs, we find that they total 1,438 new jobs over that period of time.
These are Food Services and Drinking Places, Accommodation, Merchant Wholesalers, and Food and Beverage Stores.
Those are 5 categories of jobs. The other 6 categories listed in that chart total 1,764 jobs.
So that’s a difference of 326 jobs. That out of 3,202 jobs added over the past 6 years.
To me, this is not acceptable.
Missoulians are tired of having to take shit jobs, or move if they choose not to.
But what can be done?
We got rid of our timber and paper jobs years ago. Those jobs were the reason Missoula was created in the first place.
In that regard, Missoula really has no reason to exist anymore. We built this town so we could take from the land, but when you stop doing that…what else is there?
Just shuffling money around, really.
Most of that happens with the government taking your tax dollars and using it to give people jobs. Hardly any private companies want to come here and create jobs.
I can’t blame ‘em. Taxes are out of control, the schools are shit, and housing prices are worse than major cities.
Missoula is a town where you come to get away from it all, usually after you retired from a job in another city or state.
Missoula is not a place to come to make money.
Could that change?
I’d like to think so, but it’ take a serious investment of political will.
Missoula has had a one-party government for over 20 years.
If we haven’t seen an investment of political will to solve our economic problems during that time, what makes you think we’ll see one in the future?
The rich and well-off vote. The poor service industry workers do not.
So it’ll be ‘business’ as usual in the Garden City.
That’s a shame.