Conditions appear ripe for gains, but wages stay flat
Wages should rise when labor is scarce. But despite Vermont’s enviably low unemployment rate and reduced labor force, pay has stagnated since the recession officially ended in 2009. According to the latest wage data from the Vermont Department of Labor, hourly pay at all levels, after adjusting for inflation, has been essentially flat for the last six years.
Only two Vermont counties—Chittenden and Franklin, both in the northwest—saw their labor forces grow from 2007 to 2015. Chittenden was up nearly 8 percent, Franklin 5.5 percent. But in most other counties the labor force is smaller than it was before the start of the recession in 2007. Meanwhile, the state labor force declined more than 9,300 between 2007 and 2015. The labor force includes paid employees as well as people who are self-employed or unemployed.
Upward trend in jobs
Vermont added 900 net private sector payroll jobs in April. Despite minor monthly ups and downs, private sector job growth has been steady since 2011. With an increase of 16,000 over the past five years, there are 6,300 more private sector jobs now than there were at the start of the recession in 2007.