Vermont’s private employers are making up for lost time.  In the wake of the Covid pandemic, they’ve added jobs at a pace not seen since the 1990s. According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Vermont employers created more than 29,000 jobs from March 2022 to March 2023. That came on the heels of over 32,000 jobs added from March 2021 to March 2022. Jobs increased by about that number each year in the 1990s. But the pace lagged in the 21st century: From 2001 through 2020, the private sector added an average of about 23,000 jobs annually.

The new jobs came from new businesses opening and existing ones expanding. At the same time, some businesses closed, and others were forced to lay off workers. And during the first year of the pandemic—March 2020 through March 2021—Vermont lost more than 38,000 private-sector jobs. For the last two years, however, jobs gains exceeded job losses by more than 12,000 in 2022 and more than 6,000 in 2023.

Montpelier – Ed Paquin, former state representative and recently retired executive director of Disability Rights Vermont, has joined the board of the Public Assets Institute.

A nonpartisan nonprofit in Montpelier, Public Assets Institute is Vermont’s independent research organization on state budget, tax, and economic issues and the source for timely and in-depth state fiscal and policy analysis.

Since 1990 Paquin has advocated on behalf of his constituents and Vermonters with disabilities. His work in the Vermont House of Representatives contributed to expansions of health insurance coverage to low-income Vermonters, equalizing entitlements to home care and nursing home care, and protecting all aspects of the state’s community-based Medicaid Long-term Care system for people with disabilities. He led Disability Rights Vermont in shaping corrections policy to better serve people with psychiatric disabilities and preserving the civil rights of people facing forced treatments in many settings.

The Covid pandemic shaped Vermonters’ commuting habits. According to new U.S. Census data, nearly 15,000 fewer workers commuted daily in 2022 than did so before the pandemic. Almost 80 percent of those pre-pandemic commuters drove alone. The Census data also show nearly 56,000 Vermonters working from home last year, up from nearly 23,000 in 2019.

Vermonters may be sliding back to their old ways, however. Commuting alone inched up and remote work inched down in 2022 as compared with 2021, when Covid was regarded as more of a threat. If Vermonters continue to forgo getting in their cars, that might reduce greenhouse gas emissions—and the pandemic might have done a bit of good for the climate.

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