The State of Vermont, through its Department of Labor, creates projections of future employment, broken down in many ways but here specifically by industry, as part of its mandate (which includes a lot of other labor-related data, too). These projections aren’t updated annually, but every few years (the data discussed below is from August 2012), and they’re supposed to provide a look forward to where the state’s economic growth, and corresponding tax revenue growth is going to come from.
The Vermont Long Term Industry Projections data is particularly interesting, especially because it provides a snapshot of the employment numbers by industry (using NAICS categorization) from 1988 and 2010, and projections for 2020 based on historical data – and an average annual growth rate by industry using a “compounded formula” (a formula not described on the site).
But the raw employment numbers are there, and it’s worth noting not just the 2010 numbers and their 2020 projections, but the difference in employment numbers in certain industries from 1988 through 2010, and projected through 2020.
Here’s a sample:
Construction of Buildings:
1988 Employment: 6,833
2010 Employment: 3,507
2020 Employment: 4,731
So the projected growth rate is 3.0% (they’re using a formula different than just job growth percentage), but it’s based off the 2010 numbers, not the 1988 numbers. Raw numbers which are down in total employment from 1988 by 48%.
Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction
1988 Employment: 2,429
2010 Employment: 1,740
2020 Employment: 1,872
Again, there’s a positive projected growth rate but the 2010 employment in terms of raw numbers is down 28% from 1988.
Specialty Trade Contractors
1988 Employment: 8,317
2010 Employment: 8,301
2020 Employment: 10,143
This sector is almost virtually the same from 1988 to 2010, but the projections for 2020 have it 25% higher than 1988 and 2010 employment levels. I’m assuming this is based on reasonable growth expectations but the data don’t support that projection, although considering the aging housing stock in Vermont, this would be an opportunity sector.
The Manufacturing sector has a huge reduction from 1988 to 2010, the biggest drop found in the Computer and Electronic Product Mfg sector, which was/is largely IBM, but there were other manufacturers in the 1980’s like GE and Digital.
1988 Employment: 11,744
2010 Employment: 6,866
2020 Employment: 6,101
It’s not new news, but that sector has been cut in half, and 2020 looks even worse.
Other sectors, like Wholesale and Retail trade, are up or even and projected to go up, but the jobs in these sectors are classically low-paying. If this is your growth sector, your state is in trouble.
Or it’s by design. One of the biggest growth sectors is in the Educational and Health Services Sector, specifically Educational Services, which includes public education.
Educational and Health Services Sector
Educational Services (incl. Public Education)
1988 Employment: 24,732
2010 Employment: 37,872
2020 Employment: 38,940
From 1988-2010, that’s a 53% growth rate. Even as student populations started declining, the state and local employment was grown or maintained. Even the 2020 projection shows roughly another 1,000 employees.
What the data tells us is clear. The state is open for business as long as the business involves the state, and any other businesses left lying in the gutter, left for dead, might get $4.5 million tossed at them. Or not, if the revenues don’t appear.
But hey, hope springs eternal, in that there might be yet another wealthy Vermonter who miraculously leaves the state with an unanticipated inheritance tax windfall, so the state’s budget can stay in the black.
If we needed more evidence that whatever policies our “leaders” are implementing are not only failing to work, they’ve been
pushing the state in the wrong direction, I’m not sure where else anyone in government would need to look, beyond its own Labor Department data.
In case we needed any additional affirmations that our “leadership” thinks it’s doing a swell job, only in Vermont can a state budget increase of 4.1% be hailed as a victory while the state’s anemic 1.2% GDP growth rate (2012) demonstrates the reality of all that’s wrong in Vermont’s legislative and gubernatorial priorities.
There are pictures in the article of legislators applauding each other. Applauding. Note that the biggest elephant in the room, Shumlin’s Single-Payer plan, exists to this day without the legally-mandated funding mechanism for its projected $2.2 billion price tag. To put that expense in perspective, the just-approved budget is $5.1 billion.
Oh, and the state’s still-ignored unfunded pension liabilities? It’s still in the billions – and the legislature continues to avoid addressing this critical financial issue to the detriment of those Vermonters that will be forced to address this kicked can at some
point down the road.
Why is anyone in Montpelier applauding? The applause should only be coming from Vermont’s citizens, when they’re in receipt of a mass resignation of the Legislature and the Governor for its joint abdication of duties, and violations of public oaths. There’s no justification for celebration here – only a chilling reminder that our body politic does not live in the same Vermont that real Vermonters live in.