Economists name Bozeman fastest-growing city in Montana


Economists named Bozeman fastest growing city in Southwest Montana

BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Montana Economic Outlook Seminar is traveling the state updating each region on its economic strengths and weaknesses. Today NBC Montana spoke to the people behind the annual study.

Economists at the University of Montana said Bozeman is the fastest-growing city in Montana. They attribute Montana State University and technology companies as two of the driving forces of the upward economy.

Economist Patrick Barkey said technology and university studies have kept Bozeman moving.

"But there's also a diverse high-tech manufacturing cluster here in Bozeman that's part of it -- a spin-off of the university that's helped propel growth here," said Barkey.

Barkey is with the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. He explained the main differences between Bozeman and other cities in Montana.

"Where they diverge is that Bozeman is not only on an interstate which gives it better access to transportation, but home to MSU which is a large draw to students and research," said Barkey.

Barkey also credits tourism and said people who visit Bozeman end up staying here. "We have visitors coming here, but the ones who come here and stay decide to grow their business," he said.

NBC Montana wanted to know how travel agents manage visits to Bozeman. Pamela Hill, a Bozeman travel consultant, has worked in Bozeman for nearly 16 years and said the landscape and recreation play a big role.

"It's great to have people into Bozeman because we have world-class skiing both north and south of us, along with beautiful views," said Hill.   

She said during the time she's spent in Bozeman the economy has always been strong. "The growth has been controlled and I still think it's a great small town," said Hill.

One area where economists said Bozeman could use a boost is in retail.

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