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Little progress for workers now—and not much ahead

Sun, 11/23/2014 - 7:03am -- tim

Public Assets Institute The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 4.4 percent in October. Vermont has the second-lowest rate in New England (New Hampshire 4.2 percent), but lags when it comes to increasing employment. So far this year, the southern New England states have seen at least 3 percent growth in the number of people employed. In Vermont, that number is up less than 0.05 percent, and employment has shrunk in Maine.

Weekly unemployment claims fall to under 800

Sun, 11/23/2014 - 6:36am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine New weekly unemployment claims in Vermont were down slightly last week. Claims had been very low during the summer, but increased in early October. After five weeks of increases, claims are down for the last two. Levels this year had been running consistently lower than those of last year, but are now nearly the same. For the week of November 15, 2014, there were 792 new, regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance in Vermont. This is a decrease of 41 from the previous week's total, and 3 more than they were a year ago. 

What it takes to grow a successful business: 10 tips for success

Sat, 11/22/2014 - 5:43am -- tim

by Amanda Kuhnert Over the past two decades, Manufacturing Solutions, Inc. in Morrisville, Vermont has grown from a niche manufacturing business into a multifaceted company with 250,000 square feet of commercial building space and 180 employees. Company owner and CEO Garret Hirchak and his wife Beth Salvas have stood at the helm as revenues have steadily increased over the years — 135 percent since 2009, while other manufacturers across the country have laid off employees and shut their doors.

Spherion celebrates 25 years in South Burlington

Sat, 11/22/2014 - 5:01am -- tim

Spherion Staffing Services, a local recruiting, staffing and workforce solutions provider backed by the resources of a $2 billion global workforce leader, announced today that Ken Ballard, franchise owner of the South Burlington office, is celebrating a major milestone - 25 years of exceptional service to local employees and clients. A temporary employee himself, Ballard quickly ascended to a variety of recruiting and managerial positions including recruiter, client services manager, and branch manager, and eventually took over the South Burlington Spherion office in 1997.

Ski Vermont posts record early openings

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 4:42pm -- tim

Coming off of not only one, but two near record breaking seasons with over 4.5 million skier visits each, Vermont is once again paving the path to stellar ski and snowboard season. The state boasts twelve resorts open for skiing, riding and even Nordic skiing by November 22, 2014 and at least another opening prior to Thanksgiving. This time last season Vermont was bragging about a record breaking ten resorts opening the weekend before Thanksgiving, but that goal has been far surpassed already this season.

Mount Snow opens

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 4:22pm -- tim

Thanks to a sustained period of ideal snowmaking conditions, Mount Snow Resort opened for its 60th winter season on Friday, November 21st. Traditionally, the resort opens around the Thanksgiving holiday, but recent upgrades to its snowmaking system coupled with cold weather had the snow piling up, allowing for an earlier than normal start to the season. Skiers and snowboarders enjoyed top-to-bottom terrain for all ability levels on a dozen trails covering 117 acres of skiable terrain accessed by three chairlifts.

Public/private partnership to comprehensively redevelop downtown Burlington mall for $200 million

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 11:58am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Burlington's downtown mall, Church Street, the transit center and surrounding streets will get a $200 million makeover, which will include a rooftop park and access between streets that was lost when the mall was first built in 1976. The plan also includes 250 apartment spaces, a convention center/hotel, more retail and more parking.

Vermont unemployment rate holds at 4.4 percent in October

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 10:36am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine For the first time in several months, the number of employed and the labor force both grew, both from the prior month and from the prior year, with both the adjusted and unadjusted numbers showing progress, despite an increase in the number of unemployed. The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for October 2014 was 4.4 percent. This represents no change from the revised September rate (4.4 percent).

Geoffrey Hesslink appointed CEO of Merchants Bank

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 10:18am -- tim

Merchants Bancshares, Inc (NASDAQ: MBVT), President and CEO, Michael R Tuttle, announced today the appointment of Geoffrey R Hesslink as the 13th President and CEO of Merchants' main operating subsidiary, Merchants Bank, effective January 1, 2015.  Merchants is based in South Burlington, Vermont. Hesslink currently serves as Merchants Bank's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. The Board of Directors of Merchants Bank voted to approve this appointment at their meeting on November 20, 2014.

11 vying for energy saving 'Button Up' video prize

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 9:45am -- tim

Only 11 Vermonters remain in the running in the 2014 Button Up Video Contest. The most popular of these entries will win the $300 top prize and earn the title of “People’s Choice.” Everyone is encouraged to view and vote for their three favorites at, but voting ends November 30. The entries are funny, clever, artistic, and highly original looks at the theme of buttoning up our homes to make them cozier, save energy dollars, and fight climate change.

Choice Strategies expands in Williston

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 7:55am -- tim

Choice Strategies, a division of WageWorks, a leader in administering Consumer-Directed Benefits (CDBs), has expanded in Williston. The company recently relocated a new office space after outgrowing their Waterbury Center location. Currently, Choice Strategies provides full-time jobs for more than 120 professionals. The Choice Strategies division has relocated to a new office space in Maple Tree Place, with 13,000 square feet of working space above Maple Tree Place’s popular retail stores, it will have room for anticipated growth.

USDA awards nearly $500,000 to four Vermont school districts to expand virtual learning network

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 5:35am -- tim

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Thursday that schools in Bennington County, Franklin County, Rutland County, Windham County, Caledonia County and Orange County will use a $498,856 grant to connect students and teachers across the state using technology. The USDA Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant will allow 19 schools to purchase videoconferencing equipment and new software to give students and teachers virtual access to classes and professional development opportunities unavailable in their own school district.