The University Of Montana Bureau Of Economic Research will continue its 45 year tradition of visiting Montana cities to discuss the latest economic trends across the state.

BBER Director Patrick Barkey, host of the ‘Montana Economic Minute’, heard every weekday morning on the Montana Morning radio show, said the update will look back at the recent past and into the near future.

“For the first time we’re going to be talking about high tech and startups as a regular part of the program,” said Barkey. “We’re also embracing a new theme this year in that we’ll be talking about the problem of low unemployment rates and the difficulty for employers to find qualified applicants for their openings. It’s probably the biggest business problem out there in the economy today. It’s perhaps a good problem to have. It’s always good to see a good economy that’s putting people to work, but we do have issues across the state, and we’ll be talking about those.”

Barkey expanded on some of the solutions being implemented, some he likes and some he doesn’t.

“One solution we don’t like is where jobs are eliminated of off-shored, or work is not taken because there’s no labor to meet the new needs,” he said. “One of the possible things to look at is the participation of women in the workforce. It’s higher in this country, but it’s still not as high as men. Women still bear most of the child-rearing responsibilities and they need more flexibility, child care is an option, etc.”

These are just a few of the discussions that will be taking place at the seminars which begin in Helena on Tuesday, Jan. 28, Great Falls on Wednesday, Jan. 29, and Missoula on Friday, Jan. 31.

The seminars will continue on Tuesday, Feb. 4, Northern Hotel, Billings, Wednesday, Feb. 5, The Commons, Bozeman (includes live webcast), Thursday, Feb. 6, NorthWestern Energy General Office, Butte, Tuesday, Feb. 11, Hilton Garden Inn, Kalispell, Tuesday, March 17, MSU Northern, Havre, Wednesday, March 18, Central Montana Education Center, Lewistown, and Thursday, March 19, Lone Peak Cinema, Big Sky.

Registration costs $90. For Montana University System faculty, staff and students, registration is $25.