MISSOULA – An effort to establish a multimillion-acre prairie ecosystem reserve in northeast Montana is the topic of the cover story in the latest issue of Montana Business Quarterly, a publication of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana.


Jeremy Sage, economist and associate director at the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at UM, reports on the American Prairie Reserve.

“As Yellowstone and Glacier national parks experience continued record breaking numbers of visitors from across the country and internationally, regions like the Missouri River country are largely unknown and underexplored,” Sage writes.

According to the article, if the broader vision of the APR is realized, nonresident spending could increase 67 percent from the $113 million spent in the region in 2015.

“That could yield $56 million in additional economic output and nearly 700 additional jobs,” Sage says.

Also in the fall issue Paul Polzin, director emeritus of BBER, summarizes the national and state economic trends and examines global economic trends.

“The outlook is better than last year, but with increasing uncertainty,” he says.

The recession and rising unemployment which some predicted in the U.K. did not occur following Brexit. There may be energy troubles in the Eurozone due to unresolved issues between Russia and the Ukraine. And reliable economic data out of China remain problematic. Based upon the data, “The world outlook looks better, but we could still be wrong,” Polzin says.

An article by John Baldridge explores public opinion on seat belt regulation in Montana while BBER’s Patrick Barkey and Todd Morgan delve into “Wildfire Emissions in Montana.”

Established in 1948, BBER is the main research unit of UM’s School of Business Administration. It informs Montanans about the economic climate in which they live and work. In addition to conducting its Economic Outlook Seminars across the state each year, BBER researchers engage in a wide range of applied research projects that address different aspects of the state economy, including survey research, economic analysis, health care research, forecasting, wood products research and energy research. It has published the Montana Business Quarterly since 1949.

The Montana Business Quarterly is also available online.

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