Labor force falls again, jobless rate holds at 2.7 percent

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Labor force falls again, jobless rate holds at 2.7 percent

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 11:19am -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Labor today released the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for December of 2.7 percent, tied for fifth lowest in the nation. This reflects no change from the revised November rate. Embedded in this calculation is the monthly estimate of the Vermont labor force, which decreased compared to the previous month’s estimate. December marks the sixth consecutive month with a decrease to the labor force. The labor force overall has lost ground over the last year. The number of employed, however, has increased slightly. For December, Vermont businesses reported large seasonal gains to employment in industries related to tourism.

“Though these are preliminary numbers and additional work needs to be completed to finalize calendar year 2018, the downward trend in the Vermont labor force is of concern. On a sub-state level, we know that these declines are not being evenly distributed across the state but are instead concentrated to more rural locations and the southern counties. From a business perspective, Vermont needs more workers to fill employment vacancies.  A variety of employment opportunities exist for individuals with a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds. The Department can assist employers with recruiting efforts. For job seekers, the Department has a suite of job-search and job-training related programs. Please contact your local career resource center to learn about all of the Department’s services,” said Labor Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle.

The comparable United States rate in December was 3.9 percent, which was an increase of two-tenths of one percentage point from the revised November estimate. The seasonally-adjusted Vermont data for December show the Vermont civilian labor force decreased by 708 from the prior month’s revised estimate. The number of employed persons decreased by 510 and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 198. None of the changes were statistically significant in the seasonally-adjusted series.

The December unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 1.7 percent in White River Junction to 4.0 percent in Derby (note: local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally-adjusted, see table below). For comparison, the December unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 2.3 percent which was unchanged from the revised unadjusted November level and a decrease of two-tenths of one percentage point from a year ago.

Not-Seasonally-Adjusted

The preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ jobs estimates for December show an increase of 2,500 jobs when compared to the revised November numbers. There was an increase of 200 jobs between the preliminary and the revised November estimates due to the inclusion of more data. The monthly increase seen in the December numbers was primarily attributable to seasonal activity related to leisure and hospitality. The broader economic trends can be detected by focusing on the over-the-year changes in this data series. As detailed in the preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ December data, Total Private industries have decreased by 1,000 jobs (-0.4 percent) and Government (including public education) employment has decreased by 100 jobs (-0.2 percent) in the past year.

Seasonally-Adjusted

The seasonally-adjusted data for December reports a decrease of 200 jobs from the revised November data. As with the ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ data, this over-the-month change is from the revised November numbers which experienced an increase of 300 jobs from the preliminary estimates. The seasonally-adjusted over-the-month changes in December were mixed at the sector level. Those with a notable increase include: Professional & Business Services (+400 jobs or +1.4%) and Manufacturing (+400 jobs or +1.3%). Sectors with a notable decrease include: Mining & Logging (-100 jobs or -12.5%), Real Estate, Rental & Leasing (-100 jobs or -3.2%) and Other Services (-300 jobs or -3.0%).

Unemployment Rates for States, Seasonally Adjusted
State December 2018(p)
rate
Rank

Iowa

2.4 1

Hawaii

2.5 2

New Hampshire

2.5 2

Idaho

2.6 4

North Dakota

2.7 5

Vermont

2.7 5

Minnesota

2.8 7

Nebraska

2.8 7

Virginia

2.8 7

South Dakota

2.9 10

Wisconsin

3.0 11

Missouri

3.1 12

Oklahoma

3.2 13

Utah

3.2 13

Florida

3.3 15

Kansas

3.3 15

Massachusetts

3.3 15

South Carolina

3.3 15

Maine

3.4 19

Colorado

3.5 20

Arkansas

3.6 21

Georgia

3.6 21

Indiana

3.6 21

North Carolina

3.6 21

Tennessee

3.6 21

Delaware

3.7 26

Montana

3.7 26

Texas

3.7 26

Alabama

3.9 29

Maryland

3.9 29

New York

3.9 29

Rhode Island

3.9 29

Connecticut

4.0 33

Michigan

4.0 33

New Jersey

4.0 33

Oregon

4.1 36

Wyoming

4.1 36

California

4.2 38

Pennsylvania

4.2 38

Illinois

4.3 40

Washington

4.3 40

Kentucky

4.4 42

Nevada

4.4 42

Ohio

4.6 44

Mississippi

4.7 45

New Mexico

4.7 45

Arizona

4.8 47

Louisiana

4.9 48

West Virginia

5.1 49

District of Columbia

5.5 50

Alaska

6.3 51

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

Note: Rates shown are a percentage of the labor force. Data refer to place of residence. Estimates for the current month are subject to revision the following month.
 

Last Modified Date: January 18, 2019

The Unemployment and Jobs Report for January is scheduled to be released on Monday, March 11, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.