Vermont’s unemployment rate remains at 2.1% in September

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by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont business magazine Today, the Vermont Department of Labor reported that the seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for September was 2.1%. This reflects no change from the revised estimates for the past two months. Vermont is tied for the second-lowest rate in the nation. Minnesota is the lowest at 2.0%. New Hampshire is at 2.2%, tied for fourth. Illinois (4.5%) has the highest rate (see table below). Civilian labor force participation in Vermont was 61.8% in September, unchanged from the previous month. The participation rate had increased slightly in recent months. The unemployment rate is based on household data collected by the US Census.

The comparable rate in the United States in September was 3.5%, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the revised August estimate. Vermont’s seasonally adjusted data for September shows Vermont’s civilian labor force increased by 362 from the previous month’s revised estimate (see Table 1). The number of employed increased by 149 and the number of unemployed increased by 213. None of the changes were statistically significant in the seasonally adjusted series.

Commissioner's message

Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington said: “In October, the State of Vermont highlighted careers in some of Vermont’s most in-demand industries, working with local and statewide partners to raise awareness of jobs in manufacturing, construction, healthcare, tourism, and hospitality. We continue to help connect Vermonters to the great opportunities that exist across the state in these sectors. These efforts will be strengthened in the weeks ahead, with a number of hiring events, including those focused on promoting veteran employment and recognizing National Learning Week in November. resources can be found on the Department’s website at Labor.Vermont.gov or by calling 833-719-1051.

Vermont State Overview

September unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 1.7% in White River Junction to 3.1% in Derby (note: local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted – see Table 2). By comparison, the unadjusted September unemployment rate for Vermont was 2.1%, an increase of one-tenth of a percentage point from the revised unadjusted August level and a decrease of eight-tenths of a percentage point from a year ago.

Meanwhile, unemployment insurance claims for the week of October 15 fell to 226 (down 28 from the previous week and 163 from a year ago). Historically, this is a very low number. The total number of claims, including those in progress, was 1,623, up 2 from last week and down 960 from last year

The majority of complaints were in the service sector, with 62% of complaints, up 9% from last week and 23% from a year ago. But the actual claims are about the same, as the year-over-year claims total has gone down. (see tables below).

The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which was well funded before the pandemic hit in March 2020 with over $500 million, is holding steady at over $250 million, as of Oct. 8 (this week’s data were not available)

Analysis of employment changes by industry

Seasonally adjusted (Table 3)

The seasonally adjusted data for September reported an increase of 700 jobs compared to the revised data for August. There was an increase of 200 jobs between the preliminary and revised August estimates due to the inclusion of more data. The seasonally adjusted changes in the month in September varied at the industry level. Those that saw a notable increase include: accommodation and food services (+900 jobs or +3.2%), professional and technical services (+500 jobs or +3.2%) and administrative and waste (+300 jobs or +2.5%). The industries that recorded a notable decline were: arts, entertainment and recreation (-300 jobs or -7.0%), construction (-300 jobs or -2.0%) and other services (-200 jobs or -1 .9%).

Not seasonally adjusted (table 4)

Preliminary “unadjusted” employment estimates for September showed an increase of 1,700 jobs from revised figures for August. As with the “seasonally adjusted” data, this change during the month comes from revised August figures which saw a decrease of 800 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 September’s “unadjusted” preliminary data, total private industries increased by 5,100 jobs (+2.1%) over the year and government employment (including education public) has increased by 2,000 jobs (+3.8%) in the past. year.

The August unemployment and employment report is due out on Friday, November 18 at 10 a.m.. See the most recent report at http://www.vtlmi.info/

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