F2-MJB060 The number of non-farm payroll jobs in Vermont is inching back to pre-recession levels. But the mix has changed in the last seven years. The latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show service sector jobs have grown, while goods-producing jobs have decreased. New data also show that the number of unemployed Vermonters grew in June. It’s not known yet whether the rise is a result of new layoffs or people returning to the labor force to seek work.         Five years, no raise for most From the early days of the recession in 2008 to 2013, wages for most Vermonters barely kept up with inflation—or fell. Read more
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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