Missoula, Montana sits at three rivers' junction with five mountain ranges surrounding, and it is considered a perfect midway point between Glacier and Yellowstone National Park. With such a central location in Western Montana, the "Garden City" provides 111,807 residents a Rocky Mountain backdrop that appeals to ranchers, nature junkies, travel lovers and students eager to attend the University of Montana (UM), the state's first university and now a prominent, expansive public research facility.
Originally established in 1860 as the Hellgate Trading Post, Missoula's history includes an extensive list of famous natives, including Jeanette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress; Mike Mansfield, the longest-serving Senate Majority Leader; five Olympic medalists; entertainment notables Dana Carvey and David Lynch; and, of course, A River Runs Through It author Norman Maclean. Adding to the city's diverse reputation, Missoula hosts the International Wildlife Film Festival at the historic Wilma Theatre, the largest animal-centric film festival in the world, and Big Sky Brewing Company, Montana's largest brewery.
According to Forbes, living in Missoula is about 1.3 percent more affordable than the national average. The median household income is around $43,614. Due to location, housing proves somewhat more expensive than the national average; however, with lower utilities costs than the national average, overall cost of living remains reasonable.
Missoula Job Opportunities
When looking for Missoula, MT jobs, peruse the numerous educational facilities, two major hospitals, and the large array of both public and private businesses. The University of Montana is currently the largest supplier of jobs in Missoula with over three-thousand employees while Missoula County Public Schools employs near 1,500 individuals. Secondly, employing 1,600 and 1,200, respectively, St. Patrick Hospital and the Community Medical Center make the healthcare sector a popular option for prospective workers. DirecTV Customer Service is the fifth-largest employer with about 1,000 on staff.
Other highly staffed Missoula jobs include the U.S. Forest Service, Wal-Mart, Montana Rail Link, and Express Employment Professionals. Still, considering both small and major towns' proximity, expand your search to Helena jobs for more specialized options.
Missoula Employment Trends
Forbes ranks Missoula as 55th in the nation for job growth. As of April 2014, Missoula's unemployment rate was 4.5 percent, significantly lower than the reported national average of 6.3 percent. In 2013, jobs in Missoula, MT grew at a 2.1 percent rate, and projections show little fluctuation with a 2.2 percent rate predicted for this year.
The North Pacific Railway's introduction in 1883 was the catalyst for a booming lumber industry that ruled Missoula jobs until 2007. The University, however, has not shifted since its opening in 1895 as a top employer, and Forbes ranks Missoula as 9th in the nation for education. As such, education, tourism and now healthcare jobs employ the majority of residents.