Putney’s own Peter Shumlin, never one to lack a tendency to find straws wherever he can grasp them (especially if the straw is a neighbor’s distressed property that he might pick up on the cheap), has outdone himself (again) in promoting Vermont’s low unemployment rate.
Gov. Peter Shumlin says the latest unemployment statistics show Vermont now has the
second lowest unemployment rate in the country.
The Vermont Department of Labor announced Friday the state’s unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percent last month to 3.4 percent.
Once again, Shumlin sidesteps the reality on the ground. The truth is, in case anyone’s bothering to look at the actual data, is that the seasonally unadjusted employment went down from February to March:
Total Nonfarm February 2014: 309,400
Total Nonfarm March 2014: 307,400
That’s 2,000 fewer jobs. The VT Dept of Labor also lists the non-seasonally adjusted labor
force participation rate, where the number of unemployed went up from February to March, by 100 people – to give Vermont a 4.1% unemployment rate. All these changes are done with the flick of a setting on the DoL website.
To put it simply, without seasonal adjustments being done to Vermont’s labor force – a significant impact given the bulk of Vermont’s economy is driven by tourism, and a long winter helps maintain seasonal employment – Vermont is still losing jobs. The largest adjustments between seasonal and non-seasonal are in leisure and trade, retail, etc – and these aren’t the kinds of jobs that support a household by themselves.
To cap off this lunacy, Shumlin has the chutzpah to stand in front of Vermonters and tout the state’s low unemployment number, when 2,000 fewer Vermonters are working in just one month.
Vermont’s labor force has been shrinking. That’s often the reason why the rate of unemployment goes down, and because the unemployment metric removes those people who give up looking for work, this reduces the unemployment rate, even if everything else remains exactly the same. Oh, and unemployment claims are going up again.
This same Shumlin administration promised single-payer in Vermont without a stitch of a plan
in sight, in violation of state law, as to how to fund it, and its estimated costs are roughly double the state’s entire annual tax revenues.
All of which begs the question: Why does anyone bother listening to Peter?