Unemployment rate falls to 2.9% in February, jobs increase

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by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Today, the Vermont Department of Labor announced that the February 2022 unemployment rate fell by a tenth to 2.9%. As with the national figures, all three main metrics improved as the labor force and employment grew and the number of unemployed fell. Weekly jobless claims in the United States have fallen to a 53-year low. Vermont’s weekly claims are at their lowest point so far this year.

The overall unemployment rate in the United States in February was 3.8%, down two tenths of a percentage point from the revised January estimate. Rates are based on household data collected by the Census Bureau. Vermont has the 11th lowest unemployment rate in the country (see chart below). Vermont was in the bottom five at the end of last year, until annual numbers were revised and labor force numbers rose.

Nebraska and Utah are tied at 2.1%. New Mexico is the highest at 5.6%. New Hampshire (2.7%) is the only state with a lower rate than Vermont in the East.

Vermont Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington said, “Over the past 12 months, Vermont’s economy has added more than 10,000 jobs. This growth is reflected in the private sector, as Vermont businesses are actively creating jobs. Most of this increase can be attributed to recovery efforts in the leisure and hospitality industry, which has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The second largest increase over the past year is in the professional and business services sector.

“According to another set of data that lags the monthly data released today, this sector has seen considerable growth in employment, number of establishments and wages. This sector is poised for sustained growth as individuals and employers continue to specialize in professions such as accounting, human resources, cybersecurity, management consulting and others, whether as employee evolving or as a new company.

“As Vermont employers continue to grow their business and expand their operations, more and more opportunities for job seekers are becoming available. There’s never been a better time to look for a job, and our workforce development team can help you provide a variety of resources and support. As a first step for individuals and employers, I encourage you to visit VermontJobLink.com and create an account to post a job, search and apply for jobs. To connect with an employment specialist or Business Services staff member, please call 833-719-1051 or visit Labor.Vermont.gov/Jobs.

Vermont State Overview

Vermont’s seasonally adjusted data for February shows Vermont’s civilian labor force increased by 667 from the previous month’s revised estimate (see Table 1). The number of employed persons increased by 1,082 and the number of unemployed fell by 415.

The variations in the number of employed persons and the unemployment rate were statistically significant in the seasonally adjusted series.

February unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 2.0% in White River Junction to 5.8% in Derby (note: local labor market area unemployment rates are not shown). seasonally adjusted – see Table 2).

For comparison, the unadjusted February unemployment rate for Vermont was 2.8%, which represents a decrease of seven tenths of a percentage point from the revised unadjusted January level and a decrease of one and a half percentage points. six-tenths of a percentage point from a year ago.

Analysis of employment changes by industry

Seasonally adjusted data (Table 3)

The seasonally adjusted data for February points to an increase of 100 jobs compared to the revised data for January. There was an increase of 700 jobs between the preliminary and revised January estimates due to the inclusion of more data.

The seasonally adjusted changes in the month in February varied at the industry level.

Those that experienced a notable increase are: accommodation and food services (+600 jobs or +2.2%) and retail trade (+400 jobs or +1.2%). Industries with notable declines include: state government (-400 jobs or -2.2%) and other services (-200 jobs or -1.9%).

Not seasonally adjusted (table 4)

Preliminary “unadjusted” employment estimates for February show an increase of 2,000 jobs from revised January figures.

As with the “seasonally adjusted” data, this change in the month comes from revised January figures which saw an increase of 1,000 jobs compared to the preliminary estimates.

The broader economic picture can be seen by focusing on the changes over the year in this data series.

As detailed in preliminary “unadjusted” February data, total private industries increased by 10,300 jobs (+4.4%) on the year and government employment (including public education) is at the same level as in February 2021.

Weekly claims (Table below)

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 27 to 329 (453 less than a year ago) to their lowest number since before the holiday season last November.

Total claims were 3,895, down 289 for the week and 31,159 from the same period last year.

While the steep decline was partly due to greater economic activity and job growth, the drop was largely the result of the expiration last September of federal emergency unemployment benefit programs in the event of (PEUC), like the PUA.

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The March unemployment and employment report is scheduled for release on Friday, April 15, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

Unemployment rates for states, seasonally adjusted
State February 2022

rate

Rank

Nebraska

2.1 1

Utah

2.1 1

Indiana

2.3 3

Kansas

2.5 4

Montana

2.6 5

Oklahoma

2.6 5

South Dakota

2.6 5

Minnesota

2.7 8

New Hampshire

2.7 8

Idaho

2.8 ten

North Dakota

2.9 11

Vermont

2.9 11

Wisconsin

2.9 11

Alabama

3.0 14

Arkansas

3.1 15

Georgia

3.2 16

Virginia

3.2 16

Florida

3.3 18

Tennessee

3.4 19

Iowa

3.5 20

Caroline from the south

3.5 20

Arizona

3.6 22

Missouri

3.7 23

North Carolina

3.7 23

Wyoming

3.7 23

Rhode Island

3.9 26

West Virginia

3.9 26

Colorado

4.0 28

Maine

4.0 28

Oregon

4.0 28

Kentucky

4.2 31

Ohio

4.2 31

Hawaii

4.3 33

Louisiana

4.3 33

Washington

4.3 33

Mississippi

4.5 36

Delaware

4.6 37

New Jersey

4.6 37

Massachusetts

4.7 39

Michigan

4.7 39

Texas

4.7 39

Illinois

4.8 42

Connecticut

4.9 43

New York

4.9 43

Maryland

5.0 45

Nevada

5.1 46

Pennsylvania

5.1 46

Alaska

5.4 48

California

5.4 48

New Mexico

5.6 50

District of Colombia

6.1 51

Note: Rates shown are a percentage of the labor force. Data refer to place of residence. Estimates for the current month are subject to revision the following month.

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