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Jobless rate drops to new low


Associated Press
Monday, March 11, 2019

MONTPELIER — Vermont’s unemployment rate hit an historic low of 2.5 percent in January, which is good news for job seekers but a challenge for businesses, the Vermont Department of Labor said on Monday.

The national jobless rate for January was 4 percent.

Vermont’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state was the lowest since at least 1976, which is as far back as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics online data goes, the Labor Department said.

“On its face, the idea of a ‘historically low unemployment rate’ sounds like a positive outcome and for current job seekers, it is. However, for employers and the state overall, this level of unemployment is impeding economic growth,” the department said in a written statement. “The lack of available individuals to work means Vermont businesses are having difficulty growing, and it is becoming harder for businesses to maintain current workforce size if an employee quits.”

The state’s January rate fell one-tenth of a percentage point from December.

Across Vermont, the rate ranged from a low of 2 percent in White River Junction and Woodstock to a high of 5.8 percent in Derby.

The department said it’s working on getting the word out that there are jobs in Vermont for people of all skill levels and backgrounds.

“Efforts to recruit need to be focused on bringing new workers into the state, and also bringing current residents back into the labor market,” the department wrote.