F1-MJB061 Notwithstanding a spike in unemployment in July, the Vermont labor force has shown largely positive signs this year. After falling for 25 straight months, the labor force increased in five of the first seven months of 2014. The labor force includes people employed as well as those out of work but actively seeking jobs. In July, the net number in the labor force grew by 200, a rise of 1,118 unemployed and a decrease of 916 employed.         Flagging tax revenue Vermont income tax receipts dropped 20 percent—$124 million—during the recession and did not rise above the pre-recession level until fiscal 2013. Read more
employment In 2013, there were still fewer Vermonters employed than in 2007, before the recession took hold. That’s true in about two-thirds of Vermont towns. But for the residents of the remaining third, employment was higher than in 2007. As the map shows, many of the towns where employment rose were in the northern tier of the state. Measured as a percentage, towns with some of the highest growth were in the Northeast Kingdom, where joblessness tends to lead the rest of the state. Chittenden County, particularly around Burlington, also saw employment rise above pre-recession levels. Read more
Employer-sponsored health insurance is a misnomer. Money that an employer putatively “contributes” to a company health insurance plan is simply employee compensation in another form. The point is driven home in a recent column in the American Prospect by Paul Waldman about the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case. Understanding that health insurance is part of an employee’s compensation package will be critical as Vermont moves forward with Green Mountain Care—now under the umbrella of Obamacare or later as a publicly funded, universal health care system. Obamacare provides tax credits for many families and individuals that purchase health insurance on their own. Read more

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