Annual Economic Outlook Seminar Headed to Nine Montana Cities

January 07, 2016

MISSOULA – For the 41st year, the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana will visit nine Montana cities to deliver its local, state and national economic outlooks. New this year, BBER will release its inaugural Montana Economic Report 2016, a comprehensive assessment on the Montana economy, at the half-day events, which kick off Tuesday, Jan. 26, in Helena.

This year’s program focuses on property tax growth across the state, an issue of importance to many living or doing business in Montana. According to BBER economists, one of the reasons why Montana’s oldest tax is among the least popular is because it also is the least understood. And in most communities, it continues to increase. The BBER’s 2016 Economic Outlook Seminar series, to be held around the state January-March, takes aim at that issue.

The program will address how the tax works, whether it’s working well and why its growth is seemingly endless. It also will question whether the state’s oldest tax is prepared for the future.

Doug Young, professor emeritus of economics at Montana State University, will discuss Montana’s current property tax system and its viability for the future in his keynote address, “Rising Property Tax Bills: What You Should Know.”

The half-day seminar and luncheon will highlight the latest economic trends for local, state and national economies. BBER economist Patrick Barkey will deliver the national and state outlooks, BBER economist Paul Polzin will present economic forecasts for each seminar city, and industry specialists will provide the outlook for Montana’s important economic sectors: nonresident travel, health care, real estate and housing, agriculture, manufacturing, forest-industry products, and energy.

Registration costs $85, which includes the Montana Economic Report 2016, a copy of the PowerPoint presentation, lunch and a one-year subscription to Montana Business Quarterly, BBER’s award-winning business journal. Continuing education credits are available. Groups of five or more can receive a discount by registering online at

The seminar runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The full schedule follows:

  • Helena: Tuesday, Jan. 26, Best Western Great Northern Hotel
  • Great Falls: Wednesday, Jan. 27, Hilton Garden Inn
  • Missoula: Friday, Jan. 29, Hilton Garden Inn
  • Billings: Tuesday, Feb. 2, Northern Hotel
  • Bozeman: Wednesday, Feb. 3, The Commons at Baxter and Love
  • Butte: Thursday, Feb. 4, NorthWestern Energy Butte general office
  • Kalispell: Friday, Feb. 12, Hilton Garden Inn
  • Lewistown: Tuesday, March 15, Central Montana Education Center
  • Havre: Wednesday, March 16, MSU-Northern, Hensler Auditorium

BBER is the main research unit of the School of Business Administration at UM. Established in 1948, its mission is to inform Montanans about the economic climate in which they live and work. In addition to conducting its Economic Outlook Seminars across the state at the beginning of each year, BBER researchers are engaged in a wide range of applied research projects that deal with different aspects of the state economy, including survey research, economic analysis, health care research, forecasting, wood products research and energy research.

For more information or to register, visit BBER online at or call 406-243-5113. 

Contact: Patrick Barkey, director, UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research, 406-243-5113,