Tester Statement on Strong Job Growth, Wage Growth as Result of American Rescue Plan

531,000 jobs created last month, national unemployment rate falls to 4.6 percent

Following the targeted pandemic relief for families and small businesses provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), U.S. Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement on the Department of Labor announcement that the economy created 531,000 new jobs and wages grew 0.4 percent in the month of October.

“The American Rescue Plan continues to boost Montana’s economy as we work to rebound from the pandemic, lower costs for working families, and get life back to normal,” said Tester. “This package is creating jobs, growing wages, and helping Montanans get back to work. I’m pleased that the American Rescue Plan is growing our economy, but the state of Montana needs to do more to get these critical resources into the hands of Montana families, small businesses, and communities so that we can continue to keep create creating good-paying jobs in the Treasure State.”

According to the recently released employment report from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 531,000 in October, and the unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage point to 4.6 percent – the lowest unemployment rate since the beginning of the pandemic. Additionally, wages rose 0.4 percent and were up 4.9 percent from a year ago.

As the only member of the Montana delegation to support ARPA, Tester fought to secure approximately $1.37 billion for Montana state, county, and local governments to spur economic recovery through plugging revenue shortfalls, covering costs, and investing in qualifying infrastructure projects. The state has been slow to distribute this funding citing their confusion around Treasury Department guidelines, despite Tester receiving confirmation that Montana was fully authorized to use ARPA funds.

Under the leadership of the Governor, Montana has allocated $249.5 million of the $906.4 million available to the state, and only $17.5 million of the awarded $204.1 million has gone out the door.

Tester worked diligently to ensure that Montana communities-big and small-had the targeted resources they need to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. He pushed to ensure that the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 included critical funding to get vaccines into the arms of every Montanan who wanted one, helped get individuals back to work faster, reopened schools sooner, and revived the economy as quick as possible. He also fought to ensure the package restored full service and reinstates furloughed employees to Amtrak’s Empire Builder Line, and provided more than $380 million to help Montana’s K-12 schools reopen safely and quickly.