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Montana unemployment falls to 5.6 percent

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Montana's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.6 percent in February.

The state Department of Labor and Industry says Montana's unemployment rate has remained in the 5.6 percent to 5.7 percent range for the past four months.

The national unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 7.7 percent in February.

Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy says the state's economy continues to add jobs, despite federal budget cuts, the expiration of the payroll tax break and higher gasoline prices.

Montana's payroll employment increased by 1,100 jobs in February. The state has added over 7,700 payroll jobs over the past year, which does not include the self-employed or agricultural workers.