EASTERN MONTANA — Like wagon trains of yesteryear, the traffic tells the tale of the Bakken oil boom.
MISSOULA — In 2013, Missoula County’s economy will be almost idle again, with small growth in long-depressed industries tempered by national question marks and consumers who remain wary of spending.
MISSOULA — With shelves full of books behind her, Fact and Fiction manager Barbara Theroux was busy dressing her bookstore’s front window with holiday cheer. Among the decorations featured prominently was a large poster encouraging passers-by to “shop indie.”
WHITEFISH — Even as much of rural America struggles with economic decline, the Flathead Valley is growing and vibrant, its pristine natural resources, open spaces and quality of life paying off in tangible economic benefits.
WHITEFISH — For Sam and Marissa Dauenhauer, owners of Sweet Peaks Homemade Ice Cream, the secret to sweet success has been as traditional as their ice cream flavors are avant-garde.
HAMILTON — The Bitterroot Valley’s economy looks to be on the upswing, but most aren’t expecting progress to come in leaps and bounds in 2013.
STEVENSVILLE — Sometimes the best economic development in places like Ravalli County happens when people come together to ensure that businesses already in place have a chance to prosper.
BILLINGS — As economic curtain-raisers go, the world’s fourth largest crane dangling barn-sized drums over Billings’ Conoco refinery in early 2012 was pretty eye-catching.
BILLINGS — This 58-year-old work horse of Billings’ industrial economy is no one-trick pony. If it were, said Alan Sherbo, vice president and general manager of TrueNorth Steel, it never would have survived this long.
BOZEMAN — Montana’s fastest growing economy, the one that begins with a B?
MANHATTAN — Anyone who thought a tactical-holster enterprise, launched by four dudes puttering in Tom Gregory’s garage, was going nowhere really missed the mark.
HELENA — Helena has weathered the recession better than much of the state because of the stability provided by government jobs, which make up about 30 percent of Lewis and Clark County’s workforce and as much as 70 percent of the county’s economic base, data shows.
BUTTE — It’s no secret that major cities in Montana see their residents drive elsewhere to shop because they believe there’s more variety for a better price down the road.
BUTTE — It took some time before Joe Moses fully embraced the change from selling sport coats and dress shirts to hoodies and flat-brimmed hats.
GREAT FALLS — The energy boom in the oil sands of northern Alberta could provide a jolt to the economy here as well.
GREAT FALLS — On the bank of the Missouri River, a unique development by two Great Falls natives is transforming a former industrial site into a modern complex that includes a hotel, brewery, coffee shop and pub — and it’s happened during the heart and aftermath of the “great recession.”
HELENA — Where others saw a vacant lot, one man saw the possibility of a thriving micro-community that would complement Helena’s historic downtown and strengthen the community.
BUTTE — Nothing regarding Tony DiFronzo’s business has been easy.
BUTTE — Butte has seen slow but steady expansion of its diversified high-tech industries in the past year, but that’s not a bad thing. Stable is good, said Jim Smitham, director of the Butte Local Development Corp.
Shining stars in the east: Montana’s 2012 economy expected to mirror slow growth of 2011, with a few bright spots
Pat Barkey was right on the money last year when the Missoula economist predicted how the 2011 Montana economy would unfold.
BILLINGS - This medium-sized city on the mountainous edge of the eastern plain, with an economy better than most, has waited since the Great Recession began for the other shoe to drop. When it did this year, that shoe turned out to be a work boot.
LAUREL - His combine is turning 18 and his tractor is tuckered out, but as luck would have it, crop prices have rallied and John Wold is ready to shop.
SIDNEY - When logging fell off around Kalispell, Brenda and Vance Birkey, natives of western Montana, moved 550 miles away to Sidney to work in the Bakken field, perhaps the biggest oil find in modern U.S. history.
MISSOULA - Like a broken record, the economic outlook for Missoula in 2012 is a message residents have heard over and over for the past several years.
MISSOULA - If future growth in Missoula is tied to the success of small business, Alex Philp's two technology-based enterprises are a sign of good things to come.