University of Montana economists say energy development may be the industry that helps improve Montana's economy.
Patrick Barkey is director of UM's Bureau of Business and Economic Research. He says a full recovery from the nationwide recession could still take several years.
Barkey made his comments during recent economic outlook presentations in Helena and Great Falls.
Montana's economic growth slowed from 1.5 percent in 2010 to 0.7 percent in 2011. But experts say they're expecting 2 percent growth this year and 2.4 percent growth in each of the following three years.
Barkey says energy has potential for strong growth and the outlook for the agriculture economy is reasonably good. Growth in the health care industry slowed last year, while housing and construction continued to struggle along with retail and tourism.