- Associated Press - Friday, March 25, 2016

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Montana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly in February.

The state Labor Department said Friday that Montana’s unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in February, up from 4.1 percent in January. The national unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent

Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy says payroll employment added 1,300 jobs in February while total employment estimates - which include agricultural jobs and the self-employed - indicated a loss of 151 jobs. The state says 234 more people entered the workforce.

State officials say the numbers suggest that self-employed workers may be moving into less-risky payroll jobs due to wage increases.

Preliminary estimates suggest that Montana’s average wage increased by 3.3 percent in 2015, well above the 0.7 percent annual increase in inflation.

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