Public Assets Institute > Policy Areas > Family Economic Security > A year in, the pandemic economy sets woeful records

A year in, the pandemic economy sets woeful records

COVID knocked the percentage of Vermonters working to its lowest point since 1976, when data first became available. Just 60 percent of Vermonters ages 16 and older were employed in 2020, down from 65 percent in 2019. Still, the rate of working-age Vermonters employed in 2020 was the second highest in New England and superseded the U.S. rate of 57 percent. The pandemic forced Vermonters to stop working because of business closures, caregiving responsibilities, and health needs.




Shrunken economy
From April to June of 2020 Vermont’s gross domestic product (GDP) plummeted 12.1 percent compared with the same period the previous year, according to recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The third-quarter drop was less steep, at 4.3 percent, but the GDP still came in well below the same quarter in 2019.

As of mid-February 35,000 Vermonters were receiving unemployment benefits. That was well above the worst month of the Great Recession, but down from the 2020 peak last April. Nearly 150,000 Vermonters lost work at some point during the first 11 months of the COVID-19 recession. The American Rescue Plan, enacted last week, will extend expanded eligibility for jobless benefits and also the $300 weekly supplement through Sept. 6. 

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