But the Montana Department of Labor says the GFDA report is inconsistent with state numbers.
Chief Economist Barbara Wagner says there were roughly 300 jobs lost in Great Falls between July 2015 and July 2016 which could be attributed to the closure of the Asurion call center in downtown Great Falls.
Wagner says job growth through the rest of 2016 cancelled out the loss, showing virtually no change in the number of jobs in Great Falls.
The GFDA and the Montana DoL clearly rely on different metrics. It’s unsurprising, then, to see conflicting data on Great Falls jobs. What is surprising, though, are the conflicting reports from within the GFDA. We were intrigued by a Facebook comment by Sandra Guynn, who opined:
So who at the GFDA knows what they are talking about? According to an article in the Jan 28 print edition of the Great Falls Tribune, the chairman of the GFDA board, Ted Lewis, was quoted as saying, ‘the year 2016 was one of the best years for the Great Falls economy in many years. We’re very excited about our prospects for 2017, including several that haven’t been announced yet.’
So, which is it? Are we doing well, or aren’t we? And if the GFDA wants to push a mill levy, shouldn’t they develop some sort of coherent narrative explaining to the public why it’s a good idea? Should we vote to raise our taxes because we’re struggling and need the extra resources, or because we want to keep up the positive momentum?
We’re open to supporting this levy. But first, we’d like to know exactly why our community needs it.