The economy and jobs have been a HUGE concern across the northwest with jobs being the biggest issue.

This week, I was in a meeting with a number of businessmen and women at the Billings Chamber of Commerce where the problem wasn't jobs. It was finding people to work.

There must have been 20 possible jobs waiting for qualified applicants among the couple dozen businesses at the table. A few of the jobs paid $30,000 a year or more. No takers.

Here's an "inside" story. One company was talking about an interview they were doing with a person they thought they would like to hire. The position was in Great Falls. The manager didn't want to travel to Great Falls unless the candidate was serious.

So he asked, "are you really serious about the job?"

"Well," said the candidate, "I don't really believe in the product you sell. I think it's bad for the environment."

I can't tell you the product without betraying the meeting where I was told the story. Suffice it to say, most of us use this product DAILY. This person continues on Montana's unemployment rolls and this contact was deemed "looking for work."

So why is the unemployment rate still so high? Environmental concerns?

In Idaho right now, there's a hearing on the large loads Exxon-Mobil wants to move to Billings. The loads could help improve the local economy and create jobs. The Idaho Transportation Department has approved the permits, but finds itself in a hearing and probably a court case soon. It's the same route Conoco-Phillips used to get the loads here from the Port Of Lewiston last month.

The complaint as best I can tell is the trucks will be using the roads. Aren't roads supposed to be driven on? Or am I missing something here.  Here's a repeat of the same arguments that are being heard in Idaho this week.