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Montana unemployment down to 5.5 percent

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Montana's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly in April to 5.5 percent, within the range that economists consider normal unemployment.

Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy says Montana added about 660 jobs in April.

The agency reported Montana's average wage increased by 3.6 percent in 2012, with payroll employment growth of 1.8 percent. The employment and wage growth are the highest since 2007.

Montana's average annual wage was $37,100 in 2012, up from $35,800 in 2011. Oil and gas extraction, health care and accommodation and food services experienced rapid employment growth last year.

The national unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in April.