Montana officials say the state is on track to recover all the jobs lost during the recession, but productivity is lower than expected and an aging workforce could create worker shortages.
The Department of Labor and Industry released its Labor Day report Friday. It predicts the state's unemployment rate will continue to decline through 2013 and the number of jobs should reach its 2008 peak this year.
Private-sector growth has been strong, particularly in the health care industry as more workers are needed to care for an aging population. Public employment peaked in 2010 because of federal stimulus funding and the Census, but has since lost about 2,000 jobs.
The report says the state has a highly educated workforce, but productivity is down compared to states with much lower education levels.