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Downtown Missoula
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Missoula is a busy place during the tourist season. Missoula plays host too many events that are held in Montana – everything from the state basketball championship to a rodeo to concerts. As such, lodging availability can be spotty at times during the year – but especially in the summer. People arriving in Missoula during the summer, especially on the weekends, are likely to be plain out of luck when attempting to find an affordable room, or any room, for that matter. As such, it pays to plan ahead and make a hotel reservation. even if only a day early, in order to make sure you don’t end up sleeping down by the University in your car instead of in a comfortable hotel bed someplace.

Missoula Employment & Real Estate

Probably not surprising, the cost of living has been steadily increasing in Missoula over the years. This is mainly due to the rise in real estate prices. Just like in Kalispell and Whitefish, vast amounts of out-state wealth has poured into the local real estate market, sending prices ever higher. As such, by Montana standards, the cost of real estate in Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley is expensive (although it won’t be comparing to San Francisco anytime soon). Although the Great Recession has put a lid on prices and even caused some downward pressure, the beautiful location of Missoula likely ensures that in the future real estate prices will continue to rise in the years ahead, albeit at a much slower rate.

The employment prospects in Missoula are about as good as you’re going to find in Montana, as Missoula does have some good jobs in town. The University, the local hospitals and even a few smaller tech firms all provide for some decent, if somewhat spotty, employment prospects in higher wage positions. The federal government also employs many people in and around Missoula, especially the United States Forest Service.

Riverfront Park and Downtown Missoula
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That said, though, the bulk of the jobs in Missoula outside the University and State/Federal Government area consist primarily of lower paying service jobs – many of which pay in the range of minimum wage. Up until the Great Recession, the big exception to this was the construction industry. However, the slackening of construction in Missoula, as elsewhere in most parts of the United States, has put a lid on construction hiring in the wake of the Great Recession. Still, compared to many places in Montana, employment prospects are about as good as a person is likely to find. Someone who doesn't mind taking a survival-type job until locating a higher-paying, career-oriented job should find decent employment prospects in Missoula provided they are patient and persistent.

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