Public Assets Institute > Policy Areas > Family Economic Security > Progress is Sputtering for Vermont’s Jobless

Progress is Sputtering for Vermont’s Jobless

Vermont’s labor force continued to shrink in April. While there were fewer people officially unemployed—which helped to push down the unemployment rate—the number of Vermonters who had jobs also decreased. Seasonally adjusted employment in April was down slightly from January, but up about 3,500 from April 2011.





More big layoffs last year
Vermont saw a jump in extended mass layoffs in 2011. A mass layoff occurs when an employer lets go 50 or more people within a five-week period. To be counted as extended, at least 50 of those people have to be out of work for at least 30 days. In 2009, in the depths of the recession, more than 5,700 Vermonters lost jobs as the result of 35 extended mass layoffs. The number dropped in 2010, but last year saw 27 extended mass layoffs, hitting almost 4,500 people. The bulk of those layoffs happened in the spring, before Tropical Storm Irene arrived.



Smaller average paychecks
A slight decrease in the average workweek and essentially no change in average hourly wages meant that Vermonters’ average weekly earnings dipped a little in 2011. That was the average of all private sector workers, but the story varied by sector. Professional and business services saw the biggest increase in weekly earnings last year, about 6.5 percent; earnings also rose in manufacturing. The other major sectors experienced declines.

Download the Jobs Brief in PDF.