Booming Bozeman housing market adding to recent hiring struggles

Big O Tires "help wanted" sign originally advertised for $16 rather than $20.

BOZEMAN, Mont. – A clear side effect of the booming Montana housing market is the struggle to find experienced workers who want to live in the increasingly expensive Bozeman area.

You might notice more and more “help wanted" or "now hiring” signs going up specifically within Bozeman city limits, all advertising well above minimum wage salaries to incentivize employment. 

“The hardest part is experience, you know trying to find someone experienced and then just people trying to make a living, you know it’s hard to make a living even at $20 an hour," Archie Hammond, manager of Big O Tires on N. 7th Ave said.

Hammond said their "help wanted" sign has been outside of their business for months and originally advertised for $16 rather than $20.

"Well $16 wasn't cutting it so you know you just got to pay more to get more applicants, more people that want to apply," Hammond said. "We have looked at taking inexperienced people but experienced is preferred, we try to keep it in the trade-hands on stuff."

According to the Gallatin Association of Realtors Market Watch March 2021 the housing prices within city limits has skyrocketed while inventory of houses is at an all-time low.

  • Median sales prices
    • March 2020- $485,000
    • March 2021- $709,500
  • Average days on market
    • March 2020- 76
    • March 2021- 15
  • Homes for sale
    • March 2020- 95
    • March 2021- 22

The Bozeman School District said they used a variety of incentives during the fall to fill substitute teacher positions with problems during the pandemic and the increasing Bozeman housing market.

Bozeman School District hire posting

The Bozeman School District's custodial job posting outside the Willson School.

“You’ll see the sign on Target that says ‘$15-an-hour’ and we’re taking that very seriously in our negotiations with that bargaining unit," Co-interim Superintendent Casey Bertram said. "We need to be able to be responsive to that and offer a wage that works for people to live and work in Bozeman."

Bertram said they are almost always hiring and looking for jobs for next school year, more information on employment opportunities with the Bozeman School District can be found here.