Public Assets Institute > Policy Areas > Family Economic Security > A better outlook for jobseekers, but not for the poor

A better outlook for jobseekers, but not for the poor

In August the number of Vermonters officially unemployed dropped to its lowest level in more than 16 years: 10,445, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s the first time since March 2001 that the number has dipped below 10,500. Only people who are jobless and actively seeking work are counted as “unemployed.” Low unemployment means a shortage of workers, which should push up wages.




Poverty up
In the latest Census data, released this week, Vermont was the only state to show an increase in poverty. The number of Vermonters in poverty last year rose by 10,000, to just over 71,000. In 2015, poverty fell by almost 12,000, a sharp drop that does not fit Vermont’s pattern of recent years. Since before the start of the recession nearly 10 years ago, the state’s poverty rate has trended upward.



Incomes flat
After adjusting for inflation, the Vermont median household had about the same annual income in 2016 as it did a decade earlier. Median income—half of households make less and half make more—tallied at $57,677 last year, an increase of just 0.2 percent over 2015, adjusted for inflation. Vermont’s overall economy also has been inching up—less than 1.0 percent in 2016. But many Vermonters’ incomes have grown even more slowly.

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