Recently, Vermont’s unemployment rate ticked up a notch, a tenth of a percent, which seems to generate the standard spasmodic response programmed into the Department
of Labor’s webpage:
The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for August was 3.3 percent. This represents an increase of one-tenth of one percentage point from the revised July rate (3.2 percent). The national rate in August was 4.9 percent. As of the prior month’s initial data, the Burlington-South Burlington Metropolitan NECTA was tied for the seventh lowest unemployment rate in the country for all metropolitan areas at 2.9 percent (not-seasonally-adjusted). Overall, Vermont’s unemployment rate was fifth lowest in the country for the same time period.
The bolded section is the good news the state’s trying to slather over the dismal economic record of Peter Shumlin, and the Progressive bloc in general. Because even though Vermont’s unemployment rate is low, that doesn’t mean Vermont’s economy is doing well. Unemployment could be at zero, if every employable Vermonter was working for $10/hour selling lift tickets to tourists, but that’s not the Vermont we’re looking for, is it?
Unfortunately, that’s the Vermont you’re getting. Even the state’s own out-year employment projections, short-term, says that out of the top 15 job types the state sees demand for, only 3 of them would require a Bachelor’s degree as a condition of employment.
So why would the Department of Labor continue with its rosy monthly unemployment summaries, making comparisons to national and other KPIs to show that Vermont has a lower rate of unemployment than other places? Why would it go out of its way not to provide a historical Vermont context for the overall employment picture?
It’s a simple answer, really. If the DoL did show the data and speak to it openly, it would look bad for the current and prior administrations. It might, finally, force the state to change its Progressive agenda to something that oh, I don’t know, create a job other than a cashier at an EB5-funded ski resort.
The real reason unemployment is low revolves around one thing only – a shrinking job force. This is the Labor Force and Unemployment picture from 2010 (the start of Shumlin’s tenure as Vermont’s Governor and Single-Payer Implementer. Oh, wait, my bad on that last part. Never mind).
These are the same months in 2016:
If you look at the averages, the labor force in 2010 was larger by 14,000 people. Yet the average number of employed Vermonters in 2010 was 337,000; in 2016 it was 333,000, a difference of 4,000 Vermonters. The unemployed number has been cut in half, by about 10,000.
So although the number of unemployed has shrunk by 10,000 or so, we now have:
- A smaller workforce.
- Even fewer people employed.
- A lower unemployment rate! The economy must be booming!
These numbers alone show a significant negative trend that no amount of mediocre
word-smithing by the Department of Labor can paper over. That the state doesn’t advertise these numbers is because it demonstrates a massive failure of public policy, that the policies espoused by Shumlin, Shap Smith, et al, have been and continue to be the harbingers of the slow economic death experienced by Vermonters, every day.
For the dwindling number of Vermonters still living there, that is. There is a choice. What’s hard to accept is that for Vermonters to thrive, to live in their own homes, and raise their families, maybe the state they grew up in is no longer home.