Public Assets Institute > Policy Areas > Family Economic Security > Vermont’s economy is still ailing from the pandemic

Vermont’s economy is still ailing from the pandemic

Despite a dramatic drop in unemployment in recent months, the number of Vermont residents who are working has not increased. The number of people officially unemployed—available and looking for work—fell since last April because workers left the labor force, not because they returned to work. In March 2021, 30,000 fewer Vermonters were employed compared with the same month in 2020, before the full COVID shutdown—a 9 percent drop.


Unemployment benefits
The federal $300-a-week boost in unemployment benefits that started in January is helping many jobless workers make ends meet. But even with the increase, benefits don’t cover their families’ basic needs. Vermont workers receiving traditional unemployment insurance typically get 57 percent of their wages while they are out of work, with weekly benefits capped at $531. The supplement from the federal government will be in place through early September.

Gross state product
Vermont’s gross state product fell by more than 5 percent last year—the biggest drop during the last quarter-century. Vermont’s 2020 decline was the largest in New England and the seventh largest in the U.S. The COVID-19 pandemic affected all aspects of the economy, but especially the hospitality industry—hotels, restaurants, and bars. Losses in these businesses made up a quarter of Vermont’s economic decline.

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