Annual Economic Outlook Seminar Series Headed to Nine Montana Cities

January 13, 2017

MISSOULA – The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana will begin its 42nd Annual Economic Outlook Series with presentations in Helena on Tuesday, Jan. 24, Great Falls on Wednesday, Jan. 25 and Missoula on Friday, Jan. 27.

This year’s keynote address is entitled “The High Wage Jobs Puzzle – Finding Montana’s Place in the New Geography of Jobs” and will be presented by BBER Associate Director Bryce Ward.

The program will address the following question: In a time when some well-prepared Montana graduates migrate out of state to locations with developed industries and occupations where skilled, creative workers are abundant, what can Montana possibly do?

“This program examines what these changes might mean for Montana’s economy,” Ward said. “It also questions if Montana, particularly its entrepreneurs, can figure out how to develop a more robust ‘knowledge economy’ – an economy that allows more of Montana’s young, creative and ambitious people to remain in the state.”

Also, with the state Legislature in sessions the program will address possible budget reductions. It aims to answer common questions such as: Is the state running out of money? Is Montana’s economy in decline?

“These types of questions concerning all Montanans will be addressed throughout the outlook seminars,” said Patrick Barkey, BBER director.

The seminars also will present the U.S., Montana and local area economic outlooks. The programs will highlight a local industry along with other important economic sectors. There will be a panel discussion, moderated by well-known media consultant Ian Marquand, featuring local experts and presenters giving attendees the opportunity to interact and ask questions of the panel.

Registration costs $85, which includes the “Montana Economic Report 2017,” a complimentary USB drive pre-loaded with the PowerPoint presentation slides, a book of the black-and-white PowerPoint presentations, 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 seminars run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at all locations except for Kalispell, which will be held from noon to 5 p.m. The full schedule follows:

  • Helena: Tuesday, Jan. 24, Best Western Great Northern Hotel
  • Great Falls: Wednesday, Jan. 25, Hilton Garden Inn
  • Missoula: Friday, Jan. 27, Hilton Garden Inn
  • Billings: Tuesday, Jan. 31, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
  • Bozeman: Wednesday, Feb. 1, The Commons at Baxter and Love
  • Butte: Thursday, Feb. 2, NorthWestern Energy Butte general office
  • Kalispell: Tuesday, Feb. 7, Hilton Garden Inn
  • Sidney: Tuesday, March 14, USDA/Agricultural Resources Services office
  • Miles City: Wednesday, March 15, Sleep Inn & Suites

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

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

For more information visit BBER at or call 406-243-5113.         


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