Vermont Business Magazine Weekly unemployment numbers rose modestly last week but remain at a low level. Summer usually brings very low claim levels. Initial claims for the week of September 7, 2019, totaled 271, up 66 from last week and 1 fewer than they were at this time last year.
Altogether 2,201 new and continuing claims were filed, a decrease of 567 from a week ago, and 255 fewer than a year ago.
Nationwide, according to the US Labor Department for the week ending September 7, initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 15,000 to 204,000. The 4-week moving average increased 4,250 to 212,500. After a long decline from the Great Recession in 2009, claims have now generally leveled off over the past year.
For most weeks of 2017 and 2018 claims were lower than the year before, but have been up and down in 2019. This suggests the labor situation has settled after several years of a tighter and tighter labor market following the Great Recession of 10 years ago.
Vermont, like the nation as a whole, has been locked into a historically low period of unemployment and a tight labor market. If this is so, claims for the week and year should look similar to the prior year, as they have the last several months.
For UI claims last week by industry, Services, which typically accounts for most claims, represented 51 percent of all claims. Construction claims were up to 10 percent for the week. Manufacturing increased from 10 percent to 16 percent.
Vermont's unemployment rate for July was unchanged at 2.1 percent. This is the state's historic low. Vermont's rate is now lowest in the nation. SEE STORY. The US rate was 3.7 percent, unchanged from last month.
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.