Annual Economic Update Series to Tour Montana July 30-Aug. 1

July 25, 2019

UM News Service

MISSOULA – The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana and the Montana Chamber Foundation will take the 14th annual Economic Update Series on tour across Montana July 30 through Aug. 1.

This year’s series is titled “The Silver Tsunami: Are Montana’s Businesses Ready?” and will address some important topics such as workforce development and local working age population. BBER experts will deliver the latest state and national economic outlooks. Montana saw its 10th year of economic growth, and BBER Director Pat Barkey will dive deeper into industries that grew and those struggled.

The series schedule is:

  • Billings, 7 a.m. Tuesday, July 30, at Northern Hotel
  • Bozeman, noon Tuesday, July 30, at Best Western Plus GranTree
  • Butte, 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, at NorthWestern Energy
  • Helena, 8 a.m. Wednesday, July 31, at the Great Northern Hotel
  • Great Falls, noon Wednesday, July 31, at the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association
  • Missoula, 8 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, at Holiday Inn Downtown
  • Kalispell, noon Thursday, Aug. 1, at Hilton Garden Inn

“Last year 2,850 Montanans turned 66 years old,” Barkey said. “At the same time, the state only added 2,712 18-year-olds. It gets worse in 2024, when 3,146 Montanan turn 66 compared to 3,042 new 18-year-olds, before getting better in 2030, when the pattern reverses with slightly more 18 year olds aging into the working age population than those retiring.”

 “Workforce development is a major issue that is affecting every business sector in Montana and is threatening our ability to grow economically,” said Todd O’Hair, executive director of the Montana Chamber Foundation. “As Montana’s population ages in coming years, the strain to maintain a quality workforce will only become more challenging.”

The Montana Chamber of Commerce and the Montana Chamber Foundation are prepared to lead the discussion and identify the solutions that work for the Montana business community. Each stop will also highlight a local business or organization that has found a solution or system for workforce problems in their industry or area.

For more information about the Economic Update and to register, visit


Contact: Pat Barkey , director, UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research, 406-243-2723,; Alexandria Klapmeier, communications director, Montana Chamber of Commerce, 406-437-4634,