The year is off to a good start: Vermont added 1,300 jobs in January, all in the private sector. Since January 2016 the private sector has netted 2,700 new jobs, many of them in accommodation and food service and health care and social assistance services. With nearly 260,000 private sector jobs, Vermont hit an all-time peak in January.
Whether by choice or necessity, a larger-than-average percentage of Vermonters work. In 2016, nearly two in three working-age Vermonters were employed, according to figures recently released. That was the second-highest percentage in New England and 9th among all the states. For 35 of the last 40 years Vermont has ranked 12th or better in the share of residents 16 and older who are working. The employment-to-population ratio peaked in 1999 and dropped after the Great Recession.
Vermont’s annual unemployment rate was the sixth lowest in the U.S. in 2016. An average of 11,252 Vermonters were officially jobless last year—3.3 percent of the labor force. Yet thousands more people were not actively seeking a job, but either wanted to work or would have liked to work more hours; these were not counted as unemployed in the official, U-3, rate. A broader measure, U-6, averaged 7.1 percent in 2016—more than twice the U-3 rate.