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Public Assets Institute releases State of Working Vermont 2022

As the pandemic winds down, report evidences need for “new normal” of security, equity, and shared prosperity

MONTPELIER —State of Working Vermont 2022, released today, analyzes Census and other data, including wages, jobs, and employment, poverty, household income, and migration to portray Vermonters’ well-being before, during, and after the arrival of COVID.

Before the pandemic:

  • Median household income barely kept up with inflation for more than a decade.
  • 58,000 Vermonters—or one in 11—were living in poverty.
  • State fiscal policy put off critical investment if it required raising more revenue.

The pandemic exacerbated some of these conditions. But in addressing the crisis, the federal and state governments also began to improve them:

  • Direct payments such as Child Tax Credits and supplemental unemployment benefits decreased poverty from over 9 percent in 2019 to under 7 percent in 2021.
  • Funding for food aid including 3SquaresVT and universal school meals grew, better addressing people’s nutritional needs.
  • Stimulus payments boosted consumer spending and state revenues.

“The abnormal response of government, the willingness to invest public funds to protect people from the medical, economic, and social ravages of COVID-19, provides the model of a better, ‘new normal’ for Vermont,” said Stephanie Yu, incoming executive director of the nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank.

“We’ve seen during the pandemic that, coupled with public solidarity and community mutual aid, the state can improve social and racial equity and boost the economy by putting people’s needs first.”

Jobs and the workforce have not fully recovered, and the pandemic left some worse off, the report shows. For instance, more Vermonters are homeless than before COVID. And while poverty fell overall during the pandemic, it increased among older Vermonters.

“SWVT highlights the progress achieved when government adequately addresses the needs of people and communities,” said Yu. “By making these priorities permanent, Vermont policymakers can fix persistent problems and create a state that works for everyone, leaving no one behind.”

An accessible chartbook, State of Working Vermont 2022 can be viewed or downloaded at


Public Assets Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization in Montpelier that promotes sound state budget, tax, and economic policies that benefit all Vermonters. More information at

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