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Welcome to Billings, Montana

Billings is located in south central Montana, ideally situated between the Rocky Mountains and the wide open plains of eastern Montana. Billings is the largest city in Montana working as a regional hub for energy, agricultural and healthcare industries. The rims are the most distinguishing feature of our town. They run east-west along the northern border of Billings where you can enjoy beautiful walks at Zimmerman Park located 2 blocks west of the top of Zimmerman Trail. You can find 2 miles of paved walkways along the rims at the Swords Park Trail off of Airport Road which lies directly east of Billings Logan International Airport.

Downtown Billings, Montana with Sacrifice Cliff in the background
 Downtown Billings, Montana with Sacrifice Cliff in the background

History

Billings was founded in 1882 and named after Frederick Billings who was president of the Northern Pacific Railroad from 1879 to 1881. Frederick Billings and other railroad executives had originally purchased the town site in the Yellowstone Valley and then sold it back to the railroad. Yellowstone County was established as the territorial government in 1883 with Billings, Montana as its county seat.
 

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Billings, Montana is 13% lower than the U.S. average according to Sperling's Best Places. The personal and household income below is reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Income for 2007
Area Per Capita Personal % Median Household %
U.S. Average $26,178 100.0% $50,007 100.0%
Billings $24,037 91.8% $42,875 85.7%
         

In Finance News from Yahoo Kiplinger reported Billings as one of the top ten cities in the nation with the lowest overall tax burden (from 2007 tax comuputations). Our state and local tax burden was ranked 9th at 6.8%.


Cost of Doing Business

Billings ranked the 15th best small metro area for business according to Forbes for the year of 2009. Billings ranked 95th overall for cost of doing business which includes cost of labor, energy, taxes and office space. The job growth rate for Billings was ranked 6th among small metro areas in the U.S.
 

Economy

Billings, Montana has a diversified economy. In the energy industry our region produces significant amounts of oil, natural gas and coal. Two oil refineries are located in Billings and a third in Laurel. Colstrip produces coal and electricity for our region. Agricultural products include sugar beets, corn, wheat and cattle. Billings has 2 major hospitals, one being nationally renowned as a heart care facility. There are also numerous clinics and specialists that serve our region. Many people move to Billings in their retirement years to be close to doctors and medical facilities.

Alkali Creek has a country feel just 10 minutes from downtown
 Alkali Creek has a country feel just 10 minutes from downtown

Employment

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The unemployment rate for Billings, MT reported by the U.S. Department of Labor is 4.7% as of February, 2009.

The following employment data is reported by the Montana Dept. of Labor & Industry, Research & Analysis Bureau for Yellowstone County:

The 20 largest employers based on 2nd Quarter 2008 Data (listed alphabetically)

Business Name Size Class   Business Name Size Class
Albertsons Food & Drug 8   Food Services of America 7
Avitus Group 9   Rocky Mountain College 7
Billings Gazette 7   St. John’s Lutheran Home 8
Cenex 7   St. Vincent Healthcare 9
Computer Claims Admin. 7   Sysco Food Services 7
ConocoPhillips 7   Target 7
Costco 7   United Parcel Service 6
Deaconess Billings Clinic 9   Wal-Mart 9
Exxon Mobil 7   Wells Fargo 8
First Interstate Bank 8   Yellowstone Boys/Girls Ranch 7
Employment Size Class Coding: Class 9 = 1000+ employees, Class 8 = 500 to 999 employees, Class 7 = 250 to 499 employees, Class 6 = 100 to 249 employees
 

Education

Billings schools spend $5,262 per student compared to the U.S. average of $6,058 per student and classrooms average 16 students per teacher according to Sperling's Best Places. If you want to compare individual schools in the Billings, Laurel and Red Lodge areas, you can find test scores, parent reviews, and other statistics at Great Schools. For more information from school websites go to our relocation information page.
 

Recreation

Billings has developed a variety of walking and bike trails throughout the area. You can also find sports and recreation opportunities listed on our pages for Billings activities and Montana activities. For outdoor enthusiasts, Billings has several mountain ranges nearby with hiking, fishing and hunting. The Beartooths are in view to the southwest, the Crazy Mountains to the west, the Bull Mountains to the north and the Pryor Range to the southeast. Yellowtail Reservoir, Cooney Reservoir, and Deadman's basin are popular boating destinations. The Bighorn River, one of America's blue ribbon trout streams, lies southeast of Billings and provides year round fishing. The Yellowstone River is a well known trout fishery in its upper stretches and then transitions into paddlefish, sauger, and smallmouth bass in its lower stretches.
 

Climate and Weather

Click for Billings, Montana ForecastSome locals refer to Billings as a "Banana Belt" because of surprisingly warm weather that comes and goes during the winter months. We can also get several bouts of zero to below zero weather every year as well. Our wind and weather come primarily from the southwest over the Beartooth Mountains. April, May and June are our months of highest precipitation. The heat of July and August can produce some dramatic thunderstorms. South central Montana is known for it's variable weather. When planning for outdoor activities, it is best to wear layers so that you can add or take off layers as temperature changes. In the winter, keep sleeping bags in the trunk of your car for emergency in case you get stranded somewhere. The average temperatures reported by rssWeather.com are January lows of 15.1°F and highs of 32.8°F, and for July lows of 58.3°F and highs of 85.8°F.