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Five years after the start of the Great Recession at the end of 2007, life had not improved for many low- and middle-income Vermonters.
• Despite a low unemployment rate, fewer Vermonters were working in 2012 than in 2007. And private employers were providing fewer jobs, most concentrated in low-wage sectors.
• The number and the percentage of Vermonters in poverty had increased, along with homelessness.
• More Vermonters received the Earned Income Tax Credit in 2011* than in 2007.
• At the end of 2012, more than 100,000 Vermonters qualified for 3SquaresVT, the state’s food stamp program—an 86 percent increase in five years.
• Typical Vermont households’ purchasing power was lower in 2012 than in 2007—or even 2002.
While there is much about the state of working Vermont in 2012 that is troubling, Vermont also has some solid fundamentals on which to build an economic recovery that works for all Vermonters:
• Vermont’s workforce has a higher percentage of college graduates than most other states.
• The state’s median household income is higher than the national average.
• Vermont’s workforce participation rate is typically better than in most other states.
• And the state’s poverty rate is lower than most.

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A series of charts depicting proposed spending for fiscal 2015 as the annual appropriations bill makes its way through the Vermont General Assembly, from the governor’s recommendation in early January to the final House and Senate compromise passed on the last day of the session.

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In what may be an encouraging trend, March data released today show that the number of working Vermonters, including those who are self-employed, increased for the sixth consecutive month. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 percent, a low not seen since 2005. At the same time, Vermont private sector employers reported 800 new non-farm payroll jobs, seasonally adjusted.
 
 
Shorter unemployment lines
During the worst of the recession, Vermonters filed initial claims for unemployment compensation at a rate of nearly 5,500 a month. February 2009 was an average month. Since then, new claims have been dropping steadily. Read more

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