Vermont Business Magazine Weekly unemployment claims increased for the first time this year. For the week of February 2, 2019, there were 692 claims, 164 more than they were the previous week, and 224 more than they were a year ago. The holiday season usually sees wild swings in claims, as retailers in particular hire and layoff workers in spikes in November and December and then claims quiet down in January, but have now jumped the first full week in February.
Altogether 6,107 new and continuing claims were filed, an increase of 272 from a week ago, and 55 more than a year ago. For most weeks of 2017 and 2018 claims were lower than the year before. Vermont, like the nation as a whole, is locked into a historically low period of unemployment and a tight labor market.
For UI claims last week by industry, Services, which typically accounts for most claims, represented only 29 percent of all claims. Construction claims fell but still represented the most claims at 32 percent and slightly lower in actually claims than the previous week. Manufacturing claims were also down.
Vermont's unemployment rate for December 2018 was 2.7 percent. This is unchanged from November. Vermont's rate is 5th lowest in the nation. SEE STORY. The US rate rose two-tenths to 3.9 percent.
UI tax rates for employers fell again on July 1, 2018, as claims continue to be lower than previous projections. Individual employers' reduced taxable wage rates will vary according to their experience rating; however, the rate reduction will lower the highest UI tax rate from 7.7 percent to 6.5 percent. The lowest UI tax rate will see a reduction from 1.1 percent to 0.8 percent.
Also effective July 1, 2018, the maximum weekly unemployment benefit will be indexed upwards to 57% of the average weekly wage. The current maximum weekly benefit amount is $466, which will increase to $498. Both changes are directly tied to the change in the Tax Rate Schedule.
NOTE: Employment (nonfarm payroll) - A count of all persons who worked full- or part-time or received pay from a nonagricultural employer for any part of the pay period which included the 12th of the month. Because this count comes from a survey of employers, persons who work for two different companies would be counted twice. Therefore, nonfarm payroll employment is really a count of the number of jobs, rather than the number of persons employed. Persons may receive pay from a job if they are temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, vacation, or labor-management dispute. This count is based on where the jobs are located, regardless of where the workers reside, and is therefore sometimes referred to as employment "by place of work." Nonfarm payroll employment data are collected and compiled based on the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, conducted by the Vermont Department of Labor. This count was formerly referred to as nonagricultural wage and salary employment.