No Summer’s End Celebration for Vermont Workers
The August employment figures released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics don’t give Vermont much to celebrate. While the labor force inched up from July, the number of employed Vermonters inched down. Employers reported a net of only 300 new private-sector jobs, and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held at 4.6 percent. Some good news: That rate was the lowest in New England. And August was the fourth consecutive month with a labor force increase, indicating that more Vermonters are hopeful enough about jobs to go out looking for one.
A rise in public health coverage
New Census data show that only 6.5 percent of Vermonters did not have health insurance in 2012, the third-lowest rate in the country. The data also show that while the percentage of people covered by private insurance has continued to drop in recent years, coverage through public programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, has increased. Massachusetts, which requires residents to carry health insurance and provides subsidies to help cover the cost, had the smallest share of uninsured people: 3.9 percent.
A drop in household income
Vermont’s median household income fell again in 2012, according to Census data released this week. After adjusting for inflation, median household income was $3,000 lower in 2012 than in 2002. Half of the households in Vermont make more than the median income—$52,977 in 2012—and half make less. Median household income declined during the recession, and it hasn’t returned to pre-recession levels. But even before the recession, it was less than in 2002.