Total nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 2,000 in January, topping 311,500 for the first time since March 2020. But the mix of jobs has changed. Jobs in the Professional and Business Services sector have increased by nearly 4,000. Meanwhile, the numbers in the Private Education and Health Services and Leisure and Hospitality sectors remain below their January 2020 levels—falling about 2,700 and 2,300 short, respectively. 

Vermont saw more than a 20 percent increase in the number of workers represented by unions in 2023. Union representation—meaning both union members and nonmembers covered by union contracts—rose to 46,000 in 2023 from 38,000 the previous year, the biggest increase in at least a decade.

From 2018 through 2023, the share of Vermont workers covered by union contracts rose to 15.4 percent from 11.6 percent. That moved Vermont into seventh place among the states, by percentage of coverage. Hawaii leads the country, with more than a quarter of workers represented, while the U.S. as a whole comes in at 11.2 percent, about 16 million workers.

Vermont is facing challenges old and new—from housing shortages and a child mental health crisis to more frequent floods and pandemics. The new problems are far more costly to fix than anything we’ve seen before. The good news: The state has the resources to address its problems and invest in its future. Policymakers need to tap that capacity by changing the way Vermont raises and spends money.

That’s the message of State of Working Vermont 2023. The annual report analyzes Census and other data, including wages, jobs, and employment, poverty, household income, and wealth inequality to provide a clear picture of how Vermonters are doing and where the state needs to go.


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