Public Assets Institute > Policy Areas > Family Economic Security > Exiting 2020, the pandemic takes a rising toll

Exiting 2020, the pandemic takes a rising toll

Record unemployment
New claims for unemployment insurance benefits (UI) rose at the end of 2020 as new COVID-19 cases spiked. It is common for new UI claims to increase at the end of the year. But the 7,366 monthly claims filed in December 2020 had not been seen since December 2010. And this January’s claims are on track to match December’s.





Gender gap
Vermont lost nearly 36,000 jobs in April, May, and June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. Women accounted for more than 20,000, or 57 percent, of these jobs, although they held just over half of Vermont jobs going into the pandemic. With the exception of arts and entertainment, women lost a disproportionate share of jobs in the hardest-hit sectors. This is not because they predominate in all of those sectors. Rather, women left the workforce to assume extra caregiving responsibilities during the pandemic.

Trust fund
Vermont drew down a little more than half of its unemployment insurance trust fund in 2020. The fund had a little over $500 million at the start of 2020, and it began 2021 with a balance of just under $243 million. As COVID cases ebb and flow, it is not clear how much employment support Vermonters will need in 2021 or whether the trust fund’s current balance will be adequate.

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