In Bozeman, Vance Thompson Vision plans to build a new eye care and surgical center. The 38,000 square-foot three-story surgical centers will be located on East Valley Center Drive just north of Costco. Currently, Vance Thompson Vision Bozeman partners with another surgical center to perform cataract, cornea, and glaucoma procedures..

Year over year Williston and Williams County North Dakota unemployment rate dropped from 10 percent in 2020 to 4.5 percent in October 2021. For the state the rate dropped rom 3.7 percent to 2.3 percent.

Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital plans to build an affordable workforce housing development for their employees to help mitigate the cost of housing in Bozeman which is unaffordable for many. Bozeman Health has partnered with ERES Capital to build the housing project in Belgrade next to the Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport. Bozeman Health said they have been investing a large amount of money into the project and patients will not see any financial impacts on their health bills. Construction for the new housing units are set to begin this spring and the project is will be completed by 2023. Bozeman Health is hiring for 500 open job positions, for which they have raised the minimum wage to $17 a hour.

The Butte Rescue Mission recently secured a $700,000 grant from the state to transform the old warehouse next to the mission at 610 East Platinum St. into a fully operational kitchen and dining space to provide occupants with more indoor eating options. The warehouse may provide room for extra cots as well.

The Williston, North Dakota is building a new $20 million Career and Technical Education project. The CTE building will be able to accommodate over 400 students in numerous programs to get them career ready upon graduating from Williston High School.

Made-in-Montana, just in time for Christmas. While everyone wants to shop local, that can easily mean shopping “Made-in-Montana” products.  There are sooo many. The idea of publishing a list of Montana producers of great gift items as a helpful guide, quickly diminished to just a list of those in Billings… but even then it turns out to be a v-e-r-y long, long list on the Made-in-Montana website.

But wait! There are many, many producers and manufacturers in Billings who aren’t even listed on that website. Statewide the website lists 2049 – and that again comes nowhere near listing all of them … 

No doubt about it Montana is full of very creative, hardworking and productive people—just take a look.

Products made in Billings:

A Mindful Kitchen

— 100% Grass-Fed Beef, Body Lotions, Spice Blends, Clean Cooking  (406) 272-2188

Abby Lindstrom King, Art

—Mixed media fine art   (406) 690-2136

ABC Honey

— 100% local fresh honey. Other items include honey related gifts such as beeswax candles.  Ryan.abchoney@

Agri Organics

—Compost Made from yard trimmings, leaves, coffee grounds, wood chips, and livestock bedding with manure. (406) 855-1347

Agrika Foods

— Teff seed | grain| flour,-25 lbs. Premium Teff Brown Flour; Coffee, 1-10 lbs Premium Dark Fine Ground High Crema Espresso Coffee; 1-10 lbs Premium Dark Medium Ground Coffee   406) 371-1977

Alena Larson

— Hand- crafted felted scarves, shawls, hats, mittens Hand-crafted felted jackets, vest, top Hand-crafted felted pillows, throw blanket, wall decor Eco dye silk scarves    (406) 670-0568

Anita’s Tea and Tangle

—Reusable and reversible Surgical Masks made here in Montana with 2 layers of100% Recycled Cotton layered with 100% polypropylene    (406) 561-1198

Antelope Santee Dolls

—Native American Dolls   (406) 647-1824

Aspinwall, Inc.

— Quality Apparel with Logo Designs Created by owner Derek & hand Screen Printed in their Downtown Billings Storefront  (406) 702-1586

Auto Trim Design Graphics

— Montana Themed Decals Vehicle Stickers and Decals Indoor and Outdoor Signs and Graphics Wooden and Metal Decorative Signs Commercial Graphics and Signs  (406) 655-6200

Backwoods Casting & Crafts LLC

—Specializes in unique, custom, rustic rings and jewelry as well as other handmade crafts.

BD Design.. (406) 690-4481

–Handmade, home décor, corn hole games, personalized gifts, made from plain pine or reclaimed wood; painted, stained and distressed to our customer’s preference. Prefabricated signs to personalize or take and make for a fun evening at home! Mugs, vinyl decals, drink caddies, wall décor, baby gifts, wedding décor, wedding gifts, and unique, one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone.

Beard Mountain Industries..  (406) 861-2923

—Line of men’s grooming products. Items include beard oil, moustache wax and beard balm.   (406) 208-4846

Beartooth Design Co.

— Signs Custom graphics, Home Décor, Furniture, Custom Apparel.. (406) 655-9575

Beartooth Photography

— Nature Photography Photo Note Cards High-quality photos feature Montana’s great outdoors & wildlife, available in a variety of sizes.. (406) 861-0190

Belle’s Bites

—Home-made dog treats… (406) 670-5396

BelPhia Creative

—Hand thrown/built ceramics, watercolor, acrylic, mixed media..  (406) 671-3191

Best Doilies and Crafts

— Handmade Crocheted Items, Doilies & Table Runners, Aprons for Children & Adults, Nylon Dish Scrubbies, Kids’ Snuggle Blankets, Microwave Potato Bags… (406) 581-0003

Beveled Edge of Montana

—Wood furniture, signs, boxes, shelves, wedding decor and custom orders.

Biker Betty

— Clothing & accessories created for women Bikers. Artwork for our product line is created using motorcycle parts and accessories.   (406) 223-9074

Bootstrap Designs

— Bootstrap Designs produces individually handcrafted jewelry items made from Montana copper, leather, and other row materials. (406) 850-8433


Handmade greeting cards featuring digital images, made with mixed-media components. Also photos products such as magnets, keychains, etc. (406) 672-2513

Burnin The Bone BBQ

—Meat sourced whenever possible from Project Meats –  Special House made Sauces: Rascalberry Sauce- Made using Montana Huckleberries Apple Pie Moonshine BBQ Sauce… (406) 561-6708

C&J State Quarter

—Rings Made From U.S. Quarters Available in Sizes 4 – 15  (406) 855-4978

Canyon Creek Traders

—Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, hair ties Sterling silver, German (nickel) silver, copper, fine silver Turquoise, jasper, coral and many other gemstones. (406) 861-7721.

Ceilon Aspensen, Art Maker

—Artwork Originals & Reproductions Dawings & Paintings Prints & Greeting Cards Other Visual Art (406) 578-8822

Chalet Market

—Made in Montana smoked buffalo, elk and beef sausages, snack sticks and jerky. We offer “All Things Huckleberry”, plus Flathead cherry & chokecherry flavors, jam, jellies, local honey, caramels, coffee, tea, candies, lotions, soaps, candles and so much more!  1-877-223-5763

Colt James Ranches

—Montana Chop Sticks: Gourmet Wagyu Beef Sticks   (406) 425-1027

Connie’s Creations

—Dog Boots made from Polar Fleece, Denim, and Cordura   (406) 252-4756

COOKIE’s Chocolates

—Chocolate Pizzas, Dipped Oreos (decorated for the Seasons), Foil-wrapped Rose Buds, Western-themed Novelties, Truffles, Gift Baskets, Corporate Gifts, Custom Designs at your request.   (406) 698-4976

Crazy Dog Lady Crafts

—Handmade gifts for dog lovers as well as up cycled wood projects.   (406) 371-3174

Creations in Wood

— Oak Home Furnishings & Accessories -Montana Agate Lamps -Deacon’s & Quilter’s Benches -Bachelor & Library Chairs -Jewelry Boxes & Hand Mirrors -Necklace Boards & Trophy Shelves -Shadow Boxes & Picture Frames -Quilt Racks & Doll Cradles    (406) 245-5836


— Cut-N-Rust creates unique Metal art pieces using different kinds of metals, mixing old with the New. We at Cut-n-Rust use innovative techniques to make our pieces come to life whether it is a driveway sign or a Montana key chain.   (406) 598-2627

Debbie Desjarlais

—A line of greeting cards inspired by the Fort Peck Assiniboine traditions. The Star Quilt Collection is a series of four colorful cards with the cultural story of Debbie’s star quilts on the back.   (651) 263-2151

Dennis Randall

— Dust pans, made from pine trees, old barn wood, and used Montana license plates, can be made with other plates on request. Squirrel feeders, made from old and new cedar fence and some barn wood    (406) 281-3251

Dennis Rollins

—Custom made leather products, including wallets, belts, suspenders, cell phone holders, holsters, gun belts, knife sheathes, bracelets, bags, vests, coasters, money clips, purses, 3 D pictures, waste paper baskets, tablet covers … (406) 855-2640

Doggie Style Gourmet Treats, LLC

— Handmade dog treats made from the finest ingredients such as: Fresh ground oats, all natural peanut butter, pumpkin, bacon, cheese, carrots, unsweetened applesauce, carrots, strawberries, blueberries, honey, and herbs.   (406) 702-1253

DragonFire Designs

-Customer drinkware, handmade jewelry, photography.   (406) 698-8136

Dun a Si Farm

— Raw wool & carded roving Washed wool curls & handspun wool yarn Yarn-natural fibers, fiber blends plant fibers Hand-woven scarves, shawls, blankets Hand-felted scarves, accessories & ornaments   406) 373-6542

Elle Bear’s Fabulous Designs

— glitter tumblers with quotes. They are covered in resin.   (209) 769-9803

Engraveables Custom Laser

—Laser Engraved Products Plaques & Awards Jewelry Boxes Key Chains & Name Tags Mugs & Glasses Flasks & Mouse Pads   (406) 245-1681

EssBe Creations

—One of a kind Zipper pouches, cosmetic bags, small purses, one of a kind half aprons and full aprons    (406) 670-9817

Fairy Ring Arts

—Articles made from polymer clay. Ornaments, jewelry, beads, treasure boxes, small home decor items   (406) 670-2902

Fall to Pieces Mosaics

— mixed media mosaic art for home and garden, and also sell mosaic tiles cut from china and other dishes. My finished mosaic art consists of wall hangings for indoor display in shapes including birds, flowers, hands, coffee cups, fish, figurines, and flower bouquets. I also make mosaic mirrors. For outdoor use, I make garden rocks/doorstops. My indoor pieces are not only home decor but also works of art. They are distinguished by attention to detail, color sense, quality materials, and careful workmanship. Each piece is made using mosaic tiles from my vast collection of dishes, knickknacks, beads, mirrors, and found objects.    (406) 671-9605

Fashions By Little O

—Dog bandanas designed to slip over a dog’s collar, designed to move with your dog and maintain it’s shape. Available in four sizes: XS, S, M, L. Now making treat bags, and poo bag holders.   (406) 628-6864

Flying Colors Windsocks

—Custom Windsocks Handmade, appliqued, silk-screened windsocks are constructed with durable flag nylon in rich colors, and are available in a wide selection of designs    (406) 259-6588

Flying V Creatives

—Wall Decor made from reclaimed Montana lumber including barn wood and snow fence. Furniture built from reclaimed Montana barn wood.   (406) 200-0370

Fustercluck Creations

— wood and resin tables wood and resin bowls wood and resin signs resin bottle stoppers resin tumblers resin countertops   406) 489-2850

Gan Aegla

—Handmade bath and body products in a variety of scents. Our soaps contain a proprietary blend of oils and butters which are designed to be skin-friendly.    (406) 371-3989

Gary Little

— Wall art – 3-D hand-painted clay dioramas of iconic Montana mountain scenes Smart Signage – in-house smart tv streaming local video or thumb driven slideshow              (406) 256-3025

Ha Vren

—A variety of artistic elements: Jewelry, Photography, Paintings, Altered Designer Accessories, Altered Designer Home Elements, Fabricating Artistic Elements, Finished Artistic Elements, Graphic Art, Reproduced Photographic Elements, Designing Personalized Personal Decor and Accessories .. (406) 259-6163

Hands On Fun Toys

—Children’s hand and finger puppets, hand-turned jump ropes, miniature wooden toys, wood-burned Montana (and other shaped) ornaments    (940) 613-6907

Hopkins Handcrafts

—Jewelry, like black cord bracelets and necklaces with walnut wood pendants that are Montana themed (bears, state of Montana, fish, bison, etc.).  (406) 426-2494

HunterMade Prodcuts

—Custom hand crafted and turned writing pens, and other small items    (406) 860-4959

Images By Michael

—Color and Black & White Scenic Images Macro Floral Images Western & Wildlife Images Boxed Note Card Sets Prints Available in Various Sizes  (406) 671-7069

Jennco Design

—Tables, gates, signs, beds created from wood, epoxy, steel, and concrete   (406) 697-7001

Jill Nauman

—Pottery dinner wear and ornaments    (406) 697-3102

Jill Cookies

—Homemade dog cookies – made with Wheat Montana™ flour, Hutterite Colony eggs, plus other sundry items. Flavors available are pumpkin, peanut butter and jelly, ginger snap, apple/maple/bacon,beefy cheese, cheddar bacon, cranberry, blueberry, raspberry/coconut/carob, coconut/carob, and pizza. Grain-free products are also available featuring cheddar bacon and peanut butter and jelly.  (406) 861-1932

JMH Limited Editions

—Custom Woodworking Furniture, Cribbage Boards, Shop Benches, Cabinets & Jigs Custom Formed and/or Tooled Leather Items Consulting, Advising, Designing (307) 299-8693

John Felton – Hardwood Art  

—Marquetry Jewelry and Keepsake Boxes Hardwood earrings Various Gift Items     (406) 672-6542

John Standish

—Household decorations handmade with blacksmith methods. Naturally raised beef. Naturally raised lamb.   (406) 248-8094

Laughing Lynx Herbals, LCJF, LLC

—Herbal medicine, some of those herbs responsibly foraged from the State of MT, mostly South-Central Montana. I make traditional Western herbal products like infused honeys, herbal vinegars, and of course tea.    (406) 545-8467

Lazuli of Lenore

—Custom made handwoven items such as the following: Clothing: coats, shawls, vests and scarves Linens: table runners, kitchen towels, tea towels, tea and French press cozies Household items: blankets and lap robes Art works: wall hangings    (406) 321-0111

Linda’s Crafty Side

— Crocheted Alpaca blend & Wool blend hats, scarves, clothing, guitar pick jewelry plus much more.  (406) 208-5612

Little Shell Design

— Handmade Native American Products Dolls & Dreamcatchers Rawhide Ornaments Medicine Bags Ribbon Shirts Jingle Collars      (406) 451-9732

Lori Blaylock

— Handcrafted copper, silver & stone jewelry Art: Wildlife/nature in graphite & pastel   (406) 860-8105

Lucky For Sure

—Necklaces made from vintage poker chips from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. The poker chips are vintage Bakelite and Clay. Bakelite is considered the “first generation” plastic, and is very collectable.      (406) 860-1847

Mangum Design Co.

— Custom illustrations – digital illustrations created by hand, printed in Montana on canvas or cardstock, also available as digital downloads.  (406) 670-2650

Mariah by Design

— Bath bombs, bath truffles, sugar scrub, and body butter. Lotion bar, soap, shave bar, botanical salt soak, lip scrub, and lip balm.   (406) 690-4584

Montana Block Company

— End-Grain Butcher Boards High quality butcher boards made for use in the kitchen, made from solid, American sourced hardwoods Kitchen Wares        (406) 861-5754

Montana Mittens

— mittens from old wool sweaters — These mittens are pretty, warm & comfortable. Each pair is unique (406) 698-2367

Ranch House Meat & Sausage Co.

—BACON! Sausage – Bratwurst and Summers Snack Sticks – multipack and single pack Jerky Meat trays Deli-cut lunch meats    (406) 373-6315

Montana’s Backyard LLC

—Raw honey and honey products.   (406) 850-8248

Rattlesnake Forge

— Rattlesnake Forge is a veteran owned blacksmith forge located in Billings, MT. We make customized metal and wood products. Our products include indoor/outdoor decor, tools, hardware, furniture, etc. All of our products are handmade/hand forged from reclaimed or scrap metal and wood.  (406) 697-2966

Red Oxx Manufacturing, Inc.

—produces handcrafted soft-sided luggage & briefcases, as well as rugged adventure gear guaranteed to last. Every Red Oxx product is backed by an unconditional lifetime warranty.   (888) 733-6999

Rock Creek Soaps

—Bath and body care products, including vegan handcrafted artisan soaps, family-safe bath bombs, shower steamers and bubble bath, and luxury moisturizers.    (406) 702-0412

Rock Treads LLC

– Rock Treads are a 100% American made universal aluminum traction kit that works on ANY wading boot or shoe. Aluminum is softer than the rock, but harder then the slime in rivers. Our patented shape allows the Rock Tread to cut the slime, but grip the rock. Our custom installation methods assure a lifetime hold of your Rock Treads discs, no matter the brand or type of wading boot you have.  (406) 426-0620


—SmwDesigns builds custom wood products right here in Billings Montana. From custom shelves to dining tables, we will build you a product designed to last. (406) 698-7246

Stonely Studio LLC

—Handcrafted Wood Products for the Fly Fisher & Outdoorsman Original Custom Designed River Maps River Map Fly Boxes River Map Cribbage Boards & Plaques Engraved River Map Stainless Steel Drinkware, T-Shirts Free Personalization, Custom Orders Welcome Our wood products are handcrafted from beech, cherry, curly maple, mahogany or walnut wood, custom designed and laser engraved. On our signature ‘River Map Fly Boxes’ and other products, you can choose from over 500 original river maps. (406) 656-6326

U-Neek Bar-B-Que Sauce

— Moerkerke Foods manufactures a product U-NEEK Bar-B-Que sauce. This sauce has been family owned for generations and still continues to keep the tradition going producing one of the best sauces in the country. Its taste is like none other. Located in Laurel Montana.  (406) 690-1012

William Nets

— Handcrafted fishing nets     (406) 672-0976

Your Fairy Dog Mothers

— Your Fairy Dog Mothers supplies consumers pet-care products, handmade in Montana. These products include pet toys that provide fun, enrichment and mental stimulation. (651) 206-9291

Here’s a sampling of Made-In-Montana producers from around the state.

2-Stroke Brands, Missoula

—a subtle yet powerful mix of scents reminiscent of the two stroke exhaust smell you get after chainsawing or snowmobiling in the woods

1 Love Hemp, Polson

—high quality, lab tested CBD and CBG hemp tinctures, salves, lotions and other products.

21 Creations, Belgrade

—Wood turned products. Bowls, pens, boxes, picture frames, and many other products made out of wood

2nd Times a Charm,

—Rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces made from recycled forks and spoons. Wooden wine racks.

100% Pure Piano, Belgrade

—Solo Piano Favorites – Available on CD or by digital download, Marilyn Byrnes is featured on the Steinway ‘B’ grand piano: “A tranquil piano experience weaving classical and contemporary piano favorites into a tapestry that will relax and refresh your spirit.”

3 Generation Novelties, Kalispell

—Sewing and crocheting with some small beaded items as well. Novelties consist of useful items and conversation pieces, all of which make for great gift-giving to family and/or friends.

3G Beef, Helmville

—Montana born, raised, and processed beef. Our cattle are raised on the fresh mountain air, clean mountain streams, and the rich land of Montana’s Blackfoot Valley in Helmville, MT.

3K Crafting, Miles City

— Goat milk and oil based soaps. Other products include lotions, lip balm, body butter and bath bombs

4 Dot Ranch, Belgrade

—Mouse trap.

406 Antlery, Boulder

—Belt Buckles, Jewelry, Hair Accessories, Cribbage Boards, Letter Openers, Slingshots…etc.

406 CBD, Winifred

—Our products include tinctures, salves, gummies, capsules, cream, lip balm, coffee, and bath bombs.

406 Coaster, Arlee

— Montana branded coasters made from authentic lodge-pole here in Montana.

406 Farmhouse Customs, Belt

—A small business in rural Montana. We have a laser and CNC machine and produce products for painting projects, wooden and leather jewelry, and home decor.

406 Fly Lines, Livingston

— Vintage Series Fly Lines Weight Forward Line Double Taper Line 406 Fly Lines are designed for fiberglass and other slow action fly rods.

Beaverhead Treasures, Dillon

—specializes in hand crafted quilts and leather goods. Montana’s natural world beauty inspires distinctive products from a western perspective.

Beaverhead Honey Co., Dillon

—Beaverhead Honey, straight from our hives in South West Montana.

Honey Food Candles

406 ScentStations, Malta

—All Natural Soy Wax Candles scented with candle fragrance and essential oils. Wax melts made with natural soy wax and candle scent.

406 Soap, Kalispell

—We make all our soaps through cold process, using a variety of different oils and fats. We keep our batches small and have a limited number of molds as we design and make them ourselves.

406 Soap and Candle Co., Kalispell

— Handmade artisan Tallow soaps made with beef tallow, Shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil and castor oil. Includes clays and skin loving ingredients, essential oils and fragrance oils.

406 Steak’n Company, Bozeman

—Beef Bacon Strips and Crumbles: Traditional, Black Pepper, Maple

406 Wax, Jefferson City

—Hand poured candles that can be customized to your liking in every way from size, color, scent to wax type and strength.

406 Wood Works, Missoula

—Seasonal Wreaths-made with decoration mesh Wood Artwork- handcarved or burned Mason Jar Nightlight

406 Woodcrafters, Lewistown

— Handcrafted, built one at a time wood jewelry boxes, keepsake boxes, collection boxes, tea boxes, gun presentation boxes, small boxes to big boxes. Also one of a kind coffee tables, side tables, entry tables, sofa tables.

406Maker, Helena

—Leather Products: tote bags, women’s clutches, desk pads, valet trays, key rings, hatchet covers, knife scabbards, leather bond journals/notebooks, wallets, and credit cardholders.

406Spices, Laurel

— Bold Flavors In Spicy Artisan Seasonings And Rubs. Only Pure Spices and Herbs No MSG, No Gluten, No Fillers, No Preservatives, Ever! Grizzly Espresso Steak Rub Absaroka Mountain Chicken Rub

41 Grains, Circle

We are producing locally grown crops such as wheat and chickpeas into consumer items like flour, baking goods, and other food items.

49th Apparel, Plentywood

—Creating clothing that is fun, functional, and most importantly, COMFORTABLE! No itching or tugging.

5 Valley Woodcraft, Missoula

—Hand carved household wood products made from wood grown in MT, and sealed with natural products grown in MT

5518Designs, Butte

—5518 Designs branded goods are outdoor and recreation inspired, original-art graphics printed on high-quality apparel, accessories, and paper products. Services also include custom graphics.

9-Mile Creek Traders, Florence

— Wooden buckets, barrels, leather and fur belt & neck pouches, tanned hides, fur hats, garments, raw hide, wall décor and special orders.

A Cut Above Quilting and Longaming, Garrison

—Custom Quilts, table place mats and runners, Embroidered towel sets, microwaveable products, and lingering services

A Montana Story, Helena

— Young Reader Chapter Book – ‘Spotted Flower and the Ponokomita’ Set in the early 18th century when the American Indians of the Northern Plains got their first look at a horse (ponokomita), author K. Follis Cheatham’s accurate research helps tell about a lifestyle that existed thousands of years before the horse arrived to the plains of the Northern Rockies.

Badger Made, Corvallis

—Wallets, Purses/Handbags, Children’s clothing, Headbands, Custom drinkware

The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), released Nov. 12, showed that 4.4 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in September, a record high. Montana has the second highest number of “quits” in the nation.

Nationally, the average rate of “quits” is 3 percent; in Montana the rate was 4.8 percent.

“Quits” reflects worker confidence in being able to find a better job. The voluntary separations data paint a picture of labor market tightness and growing pricing power of workers. While the labor situation poses opportunity for workers, it creates greater struggle for employers who are having trouble finding the workers they need and are having to increase the wages and benefits offered.

Some observers say that Montana may be impacted more than other states because it is so rural and it is easier for people to find work at home, making more per hour and being able to stay home with children. Average hourly earnings rose 4.9 percent in the year through October, the Labor Department said in a Nov. 10 release. But, with over-the-year consumer price inflation in October running at 6.2 percent—the highest rate in 31 years—wages actually contracted by 1.3 percent in real terms.

The unemployment rate in Montana is at a 14 year low at 3.1 %. 

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said in a Nov. 9 report that a net 44 percent of small-business owners reported boosting wages to attract and retain staff, the highest reading in the 48-year history of the series.

Average hourly earnings rose 4.9 percent in the year through October, the Labor Department reported on Nov. 10,  but with over-the-year consumer price inflation in October running at 6.2 percent—the highest rate in 31 years—wages actually contracted by 1.3 percent in real terms.

Among considerations recommended for employers:

—23% of American workers are planning to quit their jobs in the next 12 months

— Employers Should Rethink What They’re Offering Workers?

—For Smart Companies, Upskilling Is the Perfect Antidote to the Great Resignation – People stay at companies when they’re still learning.


State Of Montana/Raisin Contracting Inc,  2300 Lake Elmo Dr, Com Fence/Roof/Siding,   $22,200      

Knutson, Jess Anne/Big Phish Construction, 334 Bench Blvd,  Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $30,000   

Raisin Contracting Inc/Raisin Contracting Inc, 408 N 15th St, Com New Other, $1,147,998

Stock Land Properties/Stock Land Properties Inc, 501 S 44th St W, Com New Other, $124,799

Stock Land Properties/Stock Land Properties Inc, 501 S 44th St W, Com New Other, $516,708

Stock Land Properties/Stock Land Properties Inc, 501 S 44th St W, Com New Other, $396,288

Stock Land Properties/Stock Land Properties Inc, 501 S 44th St W, Com New Other, $124,799

RSD Adult Daycare/Action Electric Inc., 917 1st Ave N, Com Remodel, $500

State Of Montana, 1204 W Wicks Ln, Com Remodel, $20,000

Janelle Crowley/Sawtooth Contracting Inc, 1027 Shiloh Crossing Blvd, Com Remodel, $3,500

Janelle Crowley/Sawtooth Contracting Inc, 3839 Grand Ave, Com Remodel, $15,000

Kramer, Patricia/JRJ Construction Inc, 607 Avenue F, Com Fence/Roof/Siding,  $27,500

Church Of Jesus Christ Of LDS/Lynnrich Inc., 3020 Grandview Blvd, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $8,682

Popelka Enterprises LLC/Commercial Roofing Montana LLC, 1327 Main St, Com Fence/Roof/Siding,   $253,000   R

Na/Bach Land And Development LLC, 2970 Central Ave, Com New 3+ (Multi Family), $9,294,768

Stock Land Properties Inc/Stock Investment Group III LLC. 3905 Central Ave, Com New Other, $500,000

Na/Bach Land And Development LLC, 2926 Central Ave, Com New Other, $31,500

Hunter’s Pointe Apartments Phase 2, LLC/Bach Land And Development LLC, 2970 Central Ave, Com New Other, $27,000

Billings 13 Re LLC/Sletten Construction Companies, 3975 King Ave W, Com New Other, $10,000

St. John’s Lutheran Ministries/Jones Construction, Inc, 3940 Rimrock Rd, Com Remodel, $56,000

Brandon Wood/406 Disaster Response LLC, 300 S 24th St W, Com Remodel, $130,000

North LLC/2318 1st Ave N, 2316 First Ave, Com Remodel – Change In Use, $500

McDonald Land Holdings LLC/Fire Suppression Systems, 1310 Main St, Com Remodel, $3,675

KT Dental Properties LLC/Jorden Construction, 1601 Zimmerman Trl, Com Remodel, $30,000


HAD Inc/HAD Inc, 2228 Entrada Rd, Res New Single Family, $213,431

HAD Inc/HAD Inc, 2234 Entrada Rd, Res New Single Family, $221,531

Trent Buscher Construction/Trent Buscher Construction, 3142 Falcon Cir, Res New Single Family, $300,000

McCall Homes/McCall Development, 6148 Norma Jean Ln, Res New Single Family, $221,856

Bob Pentecost/Bob Pentecost Const, 2461 W Bonito Loop, Res New Single Family, $430,000

Bob Pentecost/Bob Pentecost Const, 7070 Copper View Way, Res New Single Family, $430,000

Bob Pentecost/Bob Pentecost Const, 2451 Bonito Loop, Res New Single Family, $430,000

Bob Pentecost/Bob Pentecost Const, 7051 Copper View Way, Res New Single Family, $460,000

McCall Homes/McCall Development, 6141 Norma Jean Ln, Res New Single Family, $331,461

McCall Homes/McCall Development, 6146 Johanns Meadow Ln, Res New Single Family, $230,458

Magnus Land Development LLC, 6326 Beckville Ln, Res New Single Family, $0.00

Magnus Land Development LLC, 6326 Beckville Ln, Res New Single Family, $0.00

Magnus Land Development LLC, 6322 Beckville Ln, Res New Single Family, $0.00

Magnus Land Development LLC, 6322 Beckville Ln, Res New Single Family, $0.00

Magnus Land Development LLC, 2911 Eagle Butte Trl, Res New Single Family, $0.00

Magnus Land Development LLC, 2907 Eagle Butte Trl, Res New Single Family, $0.00

Magnus Land Development LLC, 2907 Eagle Butte Trl, Res New Single Family, $0.00

Magnus Land Development LLC/Brown Builders Inc., 6326 Beckville Ln, Res New Two Family, $301,476

Magnus Land Development LLC/Brown Builders Inc., 6322 Beckville Ln, Res New Two Family, $301,476

Magnus Land Development LLC/Brown Builders Inc., 2911 Eagle Butte Trl, Res New Two Family, $339,456

Magnus Land Development LLC/Brown Builders Inc., 2907 Eagle Butte Trl, Res New Two Family, $339,456

McCall Development/McCall Development, 6141 Elysian Rd, Res New Two Family, $260,768

WH High Sierra LLC/WH High Sierra 50 LLC (Williams Homes), 2445 W Bonito Loop, Res New Single Family, $348,922

WH High Sierra LLC/WH High Sierra 50 LLC, (Williams Homes), 2441 W Bonito Loop, Res New Single Family, $263,170

WH High Sierra LLC/WH High Sierra 50 LLC (Williams Homes), 2435 W Bonito Loop, Res New Single Family, $221,040

WH High Sierra 50 LLC/WH High Sierra 50 LLC (Williams Homes), 2428 W Bonito Loop, Res New Single Family, $221,040

WH High Sierra 50 LLC (Williams Homes), 2442 W Bonito Loop WH High Sierra LLC Res New Single Family  $348,922

WH High Sierra 50 LLC/WH High Sierra 50 LLC (Williams Homes), 2432 W Bonito Loop, Res New Single Family, $260,570

McCall Development/McCall Development, 6126 Johanns Meadow Ln, Res New Single Family,  $175,028

Trent Parks, 1651 Kanga Way, Res New Townhome, $0.00

Prinkki, Matthew J, 1040 N 31st St, New Accessory Structure, $18,432

McCall Development/McCall Development, 6147 Elysian Rd, Res New Two Family, $258,618

The Billings Chamber of Commerce has been awarded the designation of Five-Star Accreditation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the third time the Billings Chamber has been awarded this highest national designation. The U.S. Chamber awards accreditation to chambers for their sound policies, effective organizational procedures, and positive impact on their communities. Only 3% of chambers nationwide are accredited, and just 1% receive five-star accreditation. 

“This is a wonderful testament to the hard-working staff and thoughtful, visionary, volunteer leadership at the Billings Chamber,” said Billings Chamber President/CEO John Brewer. “Being selected as one of the top one percent of chambers of commerce in the country is reason to celebrate, and motivation to work harder to maintain this designation on behalf of all business in our community.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce specifically recognized the Billings Chamber’s work in talent attraction and retention; diversity, equity and inclusion; the “Safer Billings” initiative; candidate endorsements; public policy development; membership engagement; COVID-19 pandemic business support and its excellent communications plan. The Chamber achieved a perfect score in human resources, technology and facilities.

Chair of the Billings Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Nichole Mehling said, “Receiving the 5-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a significant recognition of the thoughtful and progressive way our Billings Chamber of Commerce leads our local business and community efforts.”

SBA Montana sees Loan Volume double this year reaching 323 Businesses with over $186 Million

The Montana District of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced “non-COVID” loan data for fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, showing 323 Montana small businesses received over $186 million.  Of these loans, 277 for $158,922,700 were made through SBA’s 7(a) Guaranty Loan Program which provides short- or long-term financing for small business start-up or expansion needs.  46 loans totaling $27,669,000 were made through SBA’s 504 Certified Development Company program, providing long term fixed rates financing for land, buildings, and equipment. 

Yellowstone Bank was the leading SBA lender in Montana for FY21, with 52 loans totaling nearly $28.5 million followed closely by Glacier Bank with 46 loans.  Stockman Bank, Bank of Bridger, Capital Matrix, Dakota Business Lending, Wells Fargo, Three Rivers Bank, Big Sky Economic Development and Valley Bank of Ronan round out the top 10.

Restaurants (full service/limited service), Landscaping Services, and General Automotive Repair were among the most frequently financed businesses during Fiscal Year 2021; with the largest dollar volume of SBA loans financing going to restaurants (food/beverage services).  48 loans totaling $18,516,300 were made to women-owned businesses, 13 loans totaling $2,581,300 were made to veterans, and 22 loans totaling $6,271,400 were made to minority business owners.  101 loans for over $41 million were made to new businesses.

“Montana is not only one of the greatest places in the country to live, but also to start and run a small business.”  said Brent Donnelly, the SBA District Director for Montana. “With the grit and resiliency Montana business showed in pandemic 2020, coupled with the dedication of our Montana lenders, a doubling of SBA loan volume is no surprise.”

Top 7(a) Lenders by # Loans

Lender                 $          # Approved

Yellowstone Bank    $28,458,500          52

Glacier Bank           $14,677,700           46

Stockman Bank        $11,558,900          22

Bank Of Bridger,      $5,716,100           19

Wells Fargo Bank,    $4,277,300           14

Three Rivers Bank    $4,119,500           13

Valley Bank Ronan   $3,554300            12

First Interstate Bank  $2,186,600           11

U.S. Bank,                $ 731,700              8

Opportunity Bank     $1,882,000             6

Rocky Mountain Bank $11,183,100        6

Montana Community

   Development Corp. $ 678,000             5

Bank Of The Rockies $1,907,400           3

Berkshire Bank          $4,228,000           3

Freedom Bank           $ 913,500             3

First Home Bank   $1,195,000  3

The Bancorp Bank $706,000    3

Mountain America FCU $729,400       3

Manhattan Bank    $558,200    3

Newtek Small Business

   Finance, Inc. $4,364,000  3

Ascent Bank $1,275,200  3

First State Bank ,Forsyth     $547,400    2

Alaska Growth

    Capital Bidco, Inc. $3,100,000  2

Dogwood State Bank      $4,642,100  2

Fund-Ex Solutions Group $1,694,600  2

Farmers State Bank      $460,100    2

Altana FCU $900,000    2

First Community Bank    $2,230,000  2

Umpqua Bank $2,804,300  2

Live Oak Banking Co.    $8,025,000  2

The First National Bank

   Of Mcgregor D/B/A T $2,079,200  1

United Midwest

   Savings Bank, $1,710,000  1

First Federal Bank & Trust    $150,000    1

Pacific Western Bank    $617,000    1

United Community Bank $1,350,000          1

Readycap Lending, LLC   $1,165,000  1

The First State

   Bank, Shelby   $789,100    1

Keybank     $943,500    1

Colony Bank $5,000,000  1

Royal Business Bank     $1,770,000  1

First Bank Of The Lake  $1,450,000  1

Ameris Bank $449,000    1

First Montana Bank, Inc.      $2,058,000  1

Celtic Bank Corporation $3,606,000  1

Velocitysba, LLC  $512,000    1

Gulf Coast Bank And

   Trust Company  $455,000    1

1St Financial Bank USA  $5,000,000  1

Harvest Small Business

   Finance, LLC   $515,000    1

Grand Total $158,922,700      277

 Top 504 CDC’s by # of Loans

           $ Approved            #

Capital Matrix, Inc.    $5,343,000  16

Dakota Business

    Lending $14,494,000 15

Big Sky Economic

   Development Corp.    $6,683,000  12

High Plains

   Financial, Inc.      $1,149,000  3

Grand Total $27,669,000 46

Loan Approvals By County

                                    $ Approved         #

Yellowstone       $50,289,300 96

Gallatin    $42,574,900 50

Flathead    $27,811,400 41

Missoula    $12,920,800 35

Cascade     $8,198,400  13

Lewis And Clark   $7,725,600  13

Lake  $3,518,600  12

Carbon      $3,227,500  7

Park  $4,384,600  7

Valley       $ 490,200           4

Lincoln     $1,610,000         4

Custer       $1,139,800         4

Richland     $ 520,000         3

Deer Lodge $  679,500        3

Sanders      $ 765,400         3

Fergus         $ 327,000        3

Ravalli       $2,835,900       3

Teton       $1,597,900    2

Silver Bow $2,594,000       2

Phillips      $2,675,000        2

Jefferson    $1,579,000        2

Daniels      $1,071,000        2

Granite      $ 515,000           1

Blaine        $  10,000           1

Chouteau    $ 350,000          1

Powder River$237,000        1

Sheridan       $175,000         1

Big Horn    $2,400,000        1

Stillwater $416,200    1

Glacier     $789,100    1

Dawson      $350,000    1

Rosebud     $321,600    1

Madison     $1,709,000  1

Meagher     $783,000    1

Grand Total $186,591,700      323

Despite incredible headwinds the manufacturing industry in the US continues to produce and to set records.

Manufacturing employment jumped by 60,000 in October, and total employment in the sector has risen 298,000 year to date in 2021, putting it on track for the best annual job growth since 1997.

The average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers in manufacturing rose to $24.22 in October, with a 5.4% increase over the past year, the fastest wage growth since August 1982.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 531,000 in October, and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.6% 

Demand cooled somewhat but remained solid. Supply chain disruptions, logistics challenges, workforce shortages and soaring costs have dampened demand.

New orders for manufactured goods rose 0.2% to a record $515.9 billion in September, albeit at a slower pace. Excluding transportation equipment, manufacturing orders increased 0.7% in September. Overall, the manufacturing sector continues to expand strongly—despite significant challenges—with new orders soaring 10.2% year to date.

Private manufacturing construction spending declined 1.6% to $72.42 billion in September, falling to a five-month low. While construction activity in the manufacturing sector has risen 4.7% year-over-year, spending remains 4.9% below the $76.16 billion in activity recorded in February 2020.

The U.S. trade deficit rose from $72.81 billion in August to a record $80.93 billion in September. Goods exports fell sharply for the month, with goods imports rising. The volatility in the September data likely stemmed from ongoing supply chain difficulties, including the chip shortage. Growth in goods imports has outpaced the increase in goods exports year to date.

More positively, U.S.-manufactured goods exports totaled $831.87 billion through the first nine months of 2021, soaring 18.80% from $700.24 billion year to date in 2020.

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee has decided to start tapering its asset purchases later this month. The Federal Reserve has been purchasing as much as $80 billion in Treasury securities and $40 billion in agency mortgage-backed securities each month since the beginning of the pandemic. It will start scaling that back by $15 billion in November, another $15 billion in December, and so on, likely ending these purchases entirely by mid-2022.

The FOMC kept the federal funds range of zero to 25 basis points, also as predicted. It is not likely to shift its interest rate policy until mid-2022, contingent on incoming economic data.

Dear Editor,

At the November 9, 2021 Commissioner’s meeting, we learned Commissioners Jones & Pitman are still trying to control the narrative on the privatization of MetraPark. Commissioner Jones opened the floor to public comment stating Commissioners would not answer questions or have any dialogue with speakers. Extra chairs were brought in to seat the capacity crowd. No one spoke in favor of privatizing MetraPark. After the meeting, Jones met with local media to answer their questions.

One local business owner said if Commissioners continued this push, he would start a recall petition on Commissioners voting ‘aye’. Another asked why are Commissioners comparing MetraPark, a multi-use facility (Entertainment, Ag, Fair, retail shows) to Casper, WY, entertainment only facility. A local business owner, who rents Metra for shows, provided a quick analysis of the Metra’s budget starting in 2016. He offered to share his analysis if Commissioners would share their analysis – silence.

Pitman, reading from scripted notes motioned to publish a ‘Request for Information and Qualifications’. Jones reading from scripted notes, 2nd the motion with changes. Commissioner Ostlund objected and received a standing ovation. Jones shouted for everyone to be quiet or he would clear the room. The motion passed, 2-1.

The MetraPark Master plan is nearing completion. It probably will have a multimillion dollar price tag to be funded via bond, voted on by taxpayers. Citizens will pay for a new, renovated facility which Pitman/ Jones wish to turn over to an out of state for profit corporation.

Mark Morse


County Commissioners seemed to be in general agreement to move forward with the County Auditor’s suggestion to consolidate or reduce the hours of his office.

About a month ago, County Auditor Scott Turner brought forward the idea of consolidating or reducing to part-time the office of County Auditor. As the year ends and since next year would be a re-election year for the position, the commissioners want to initiate the process of changing the position before candidates can begin filing for election to county offices.

Duties performed by the county auditor could be accomplished on a part time basis and reducing the office from a full-time elected position could save the county as much as $100,000, said Turner, who has served in the office since 2017.

Prior to that Turner was Yellowstone County’s Director of Finance for 26 year.

Turner suggests that a 1.5 FTE would be adequate to perform the duties of the office and provide back-up. There are only a couple of processes that would require some oversight of an elected official, he said, and suggested that could be either the County Attorney or the Clerk & Recorder.

Only 13 counties have a large enough population to be required constitutionally  to have an auditor in Montana, according to Turner. Of those, seven have consolidated the position. Turner said that a survey of other counties such as Cascade, Flathead and Lewis & Clark who have consolidated the position indicates that they have been satisfied with the decision.

The commissioners asked Chief In-House Counsel for Yellowstone County Jeana Lervick to investigate the legal process and provide the necessary documents to proceed with the process.

Banks continue to face the challenge of managing excess deposits while their customers are seeking fewer loans, reports the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

Commercial banks in the Ninth District of the Federal Reserve Bank, have experienced unprecedented deposit growth and reduced demand for loans since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.1 These two forces caused considerable changes in the composition of assets on bank balance sheets, driven by cautious spending by depositors as well as pandemic-related relief efforts. Montana is part of the Ninth District.

The growth in deposits at Ninth District commercial banks has significantly outpaced growth in loans since the beginning of 2020. Pandemic relief efforts starting in the second quarter of 2020 contributed to the excess deposits, while pandemic-mitigating efforts and cautious consumer behavior curbed economic activity and lowered loan demand.

Excluding PPP loans, median year-over-year loan volume throughout the pandemic was largely unchanged. The PPP loan program allowed commercial banks to originate forgivable loans for businesses during the pandemic. Banks deposited the PPP disbursements directly into customer accounts. This contributed to the large increases in excess deposits in the second quarter of 2020 and again in the first quarter of 2021, when Congress made additional PPP loan funds available.

Regardless of growth in PPP loans, deposit growth since the fourth quarter of 2019 is significant across most banks. The median deposit growth rate continues to rise across different PPP proportions even as PPP loan volume has declined significantly. Besides PPP loans, other pandemic-related relief efforts and more cautious spending habits contributed to deposit growth.

The rate of deposit growth is more pronounced at banks with a higher percentage of PPP loans to total loans. Banks with a ratio of PPP loans to total loans that is greater than 10 percent report a median growth rate of 37 percent in total deposits since the fourth quarter of 2019, compared with 23 percent growth at banks with a ratio of PPP loans to total loans of 5 percent or less.

The rate of deposit growth moderated in the second quarter of 2021 for all PPP loan proportions because the program ended in the second quarter and the volume of PPP loans declined from approximately $30 billion to $19 billion quarter over quarter in the Ninth District (approximately $400 billion to $300 billion nationwide).4

The combination of relief efforts, shifts in spending by consumers and businesses, and the search for profitability in a low-interest-rate environment has led to significant changes in bank balance sheets in the district.

As expected, given deposit growth from bank customers, the amount of cash held by banks has grown significantly; recently, however, the trend has shifted to an increase in purchases of investment securities and a decrease in other borrowings. Banks have fewer options for deploying cash, given the limited demand for loans by their customers, so they have opted to increase securities and rely less on borrowings.

To fund loans during the pandemic, Ninth District commercial banks used more liquid sources—such as excess cash—while reducing borrowings. Shifting cash into securities improved revenue, and lowered borrowings reduced expenses. While the shift in assets and liabilities has improved liquidity risk at these banks, the more liquid assets are less profitable than loans.