The state is in for a long period of sluggish growth and it will take years for employment to return to normal levels.
Vermont’s labor force, the sum of those working and actively looking for work, actually fell by 15,000 people and is now lower than it has been in 24 years.
The governor’s budget fills a $180 million gap caused by Covid-19 by relying on a surplus in revenue the state saw at the end of July.
Without improvement, economic stagnation is possible but deterioration is more likely.
Retail, health care and restaurants together added about 3,000 jobs in June, accounting for two-thirds of the total job growth in Vermont.
‘There’s a lot of money sloshing around, but it’s not necessarily in the hands of the people who most need it,’ said a legislative economist.
As Gov. Phil Scott gradually allows for further reopening, we should see the number of people receiving unemployment insurance benefits fall.
Vermont’s April job decline, in percentage terms, was the highest in the nation.
But that’s little comfort to the unemployed who have gotten neither a benefit nor a response from the state Department of Labor.
After an initial spike, the number of new claims is down for the sixth week in a row.
Because self-employed workers will finally begin receiving payments, we should see an increase in the overall number getting benefits climb from the current level of 57,000 to around 80,000.
Nationally, 14 states also experienced a decline. But Vermont had the biggest percentage drop of any state in the nation.
Despite the addition of dozens of new call center employees, laid-off workers report continued difficulty in getting through to sort out issues barring them from receiving benefits.
Although last week’s 6,400 jobless claims were one-third below the number for the week before, it’s not likely that fewer people are applying for unemployment insurance.