Events February 9, 2023

2023 Economic Outlook Seminar – The Future of Montana

The 48th Annual Economic Outlook Seminar came to Bozeman, Montana again on February 1st and the theme was “The Future of Montana: What the New Wave of In-Migration Means for the State”, which once again seamlessly integrates into the Montana real estate industry. The full-day agenda for both in-person and virtual attendees offered industry and economic topics with experts presenting current trends and information. Topics presented and discussed included: tourism and recreation, health care, agriculture, the forest industry, housing, Northwestern Energy update, and a high-tech panel discussion.

“What does the future hold for the Montana economy? That perennial question takes on a special significance in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that sent plenty of folks from congested urban areas around the country to live in places like Montana and other Mountain West states.

For those on the move, the promise of keeping their jobs in the big city while enjoying the lifestyle and space of the West has had a powerful appeal. And their arrival is sure to be felt in everything from housing markets to the political landscape. Join us as we focus on how these powerful new trends will reshape economic growth.” –

This year ERA Landmark had over eighteen agents and staff join the seminar both virtually and in person, despite the typical icy Montana road conditions. Attendees included Mikaela Durham-BentleyCheryl RidgelyKirk DigeBaylor CarterRachel TaskerRobyn ErlenbushJessie SarrazinDebbie McEachronSharon Tudor IslerMark MeissnerCarissa PaulsonKim SpainKatie Haley GrimmTheresa ColemanMaggie BiggerstaffRoyelle EsterbyTammee Frye Ryan, and Sue Frye. Each year our offices look forward to attending this seminar to see trends and projections in the real estate industry. Here are a few of our key takeaways:

  • “I was excited that the Outdoor Recreation ‘business’ economy has risen to the level of being included in the annual economic reporting and presentation.  Long noted as a strategic industry growth area in the City of Bozeman’s Economic Development Strategy, the business leaders in the outdoor sector – from Mystery Ranch to Simms to Sitka – have been shepherding this growth for many decades. The synergies between these companies, their products, and their target markets have become a significant growth area and provide solid employment for residents in our region. Bozeman-made products are shipped throughout the world. As a former strategic planner, it is always fun when vision becomes reality.  I was one of the founding board members for Bozeman Fiber – now Yellowstone Fiber – and remember well the initial challenges of bringing a fiber network to our community.  It is rewarding to see Yellowstone Fiber now touted as a key component of our region’s infrastructure and it now growing to the next level to support the growth that was predicted long ago.  Our city and community leaders never lost sight of the vision and kudos to those who have worked tirelessly to bring it to fruition.  When working with investment real estate buyers, one of the top five questions is always – what bandwidth is available?  It is an important factor for our clients and community.” –Cheryl Ridgely
  • “The Economic Outlook Seminar always has relevant, useful statistics and information.  No one, however, can predict the future other than we know the world we live in will continue to change and evolve.” –Kirk Dige
  • “It was really nice to get a better understanding of why Bozeman and Montana as a whole are seeing such an employment shortage. We’ve had so many people move to our state in the last couple of years, sometimes it’s hard to understand why we don’t have a surplus of workers. The first reason is the number of 60-70 year-olds retiring or exiting the job market. I believe it was said in the last 12 years Montana has seen 50,000 people in that age bracket retire. A second reason for the job shortage is even though we have seen a lot of people move to Bozeman and Montana in general, a good percentage of them kept their previous jobs and are working remotely. They didn’t move to Montana for work or enter our job market when they got here. Spelling it out like this really helped me understand some of the contributing factors to our worker shortage.” –Mikaela Durham-Bentley
  • “The number of jobs needing to be filled within the state is currently sitting at around 45,000 openings; that number compared to the 10,000 total number of high school seniors statewide, it still leaves a large gap to be filled in the labor market.” –Amanda Weber
  • “I found it very interesting that with all the talk about a recession, the presenters predict we won’t feel the impact here in Southwest Montana as much as other parts of the nation. Also of note, many of Montana’s industries such as logging, beef, grains, and other commodities are reporting higher sales prices for their products. And while this sounds great, the economists noted that the costs of production have increased dramatically, so many industries may not be actually proving a higher profit margin, even with the higher market prices.” –Jessie Sarrazin

If you are curious to see how Southwest Montana real estate fared in 2022, we recently published our 2022 Year-End Market Review highlighting statistics relevant to our area. When it comes to purchasing or selling real estate in BozemanBig SkyLivingston, or Ennis, Montana, trust your local ERA Landmark agent to help you succeed.