Vermont Labor Market

The Department of Labor has released data on the Vermont economy for the time period covering December 2019. According to household data, the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for December was 2.3%. This reflects no change from the revised November rate. The preliminary data released in December shows a labor force participation rate of 65.6% which is the lowest statewide level since September 1977.

The Vermont seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate remained the same in December at a level of 2.3%. The comparable United States rate in December was 3.5%, which was also unchanged from the revised November estimate. The seasonally-adjusted Vermont data for December show the Vermont civilian labor force decreased by 946 from the prior month’s revised estimate. The number of employed persons decreased by 1,021 and the number of unemployed persons increased by 75. The change to the number of employed persons was statistically significant in the seasonally-adjusted series.

The December unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 1.6% in Burlington-South Burlington and White River Junction to 3.9% in Derby (note: local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally-adjusted). For comparison, the December unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 2.1%, which was a decrease of one-tenth of one percentage point from the revised unadjusted November level and a decrease of two-tenths of one percentage point from a year ago.

The preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ jobs estimates for December show an increase of 3,200 jobs when compared to the revised November numbers. There was a decrease of 300 jobs between the preliminary and the revised November estimates due to the inclusion of more data. The monthly increase seen in the December numbers was primarily attributable to leisure and hospitality related activities. The broader economic trends can be detected by focusing on the over-the-year changes in this data series. As detailed in the preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ December data, Total Private industries have increased by 400 jobs (0.2%) and Government (including public education) employment has decreased by 1,800 jobs (-3.0%) in the past year. 

The seasonally-adjusted data for December reports a decrease of 700 jobs from the revised November data. As with the ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ data, this over-the-month change is from the revised November numbers which experienced a decrease of 300 jobs from the preliminary estimates. The seasonally-adjusted over-the-month changes in December varied at the sub-sector level. Those with a notable increase include: Administrative & Waste Services (+400 jobs or +3.0%), and Manufacturing (+200 jobs or +0.7%). Sectors with a notable decrease include: Real Estate, Rental & Leasing (-100 jobs or -3.4%), Other Services (-200 jobs or -2.0%), and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-100 jobs or -2.0%).