Vermont Business Magazine Today, the Vermont Department of Labor reported that the number of unemployed Vermonters increased by nearly 44,000, which pushed the April unemployment rate to 15.6 percent. According to household data, the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for April increased twelve and five-tenths percentage points from the prior month’s estimate of 3.1 percent. The hardest hit sector was Accommodation & Food Services, which lost 18,400 jobs or 61.3 percent of its workforce.
The comparable United States rate in April was 14.7 percent, an increase of ten and three-tenths percentage points from the revised March estimate.
“As anticipated, the monthly numbers show the tremendous economic impact of COVID-19,” said Michael Harrington, Interim Labor Commissioner. “We are seeing an unprecedented level of economic disruption in our state, nation, and around the world. As Vermont begins to re-open, the Department is actively promoting job openings across the state. To learn about current opportunities in your area, visit the Department’s website at labor.vermont.gov.”
The seasonally-adjusted Vermont data for April show the Vermont civilian labor force increased by 9,154 from the prior month’s revised estimate. The number of employed persons decreased by 34,813 and the number of unemployed persons increased by 43,967. The changes to the labor force, the number of unemployed persons, the unemployment rate and the number of employed persons were statistically significant in the seasonally-adjusted series.
The April unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 13.1 percent in White River Junction to 24.1 percent in Derby and Morristown-Waterbury (note: local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally-adjusted). For comparison, the April unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 16.8 percent, which was an increase of thirteen and four-tenths percentage points from the revised unadjusted March level and an increase of fourteen and three-tenths percentage points from a year ago.
The preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ jobs estimates for April show a decrease of 64,100 jobs when compared to the revised March numbers. There was a decrease of 1,200 jobs between the preliminary and the revised March estimates due to the inclusion of more data. The monthly decrease seen in the April numbers was primarily attributable to COVID-19 related business layoffs. The broader economic picture can be seen by focusing on the over-the-year changes in this data series. As detailed in the preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ April data, Total Private industries have decreased by 65,800 jobs (-25.7 percent) and Government (including public education) employment has decreased by 2,100 jobs (-3.6 percent) in the past year.
The seasonally-adjusted data for April reports a decrease of 60,700 jobs from the revised March data. As with the ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ data, this over-the-month change is from the revised March numbers which experienced a decrease of 1,700 jobs from the preliminary estimates. No sectors reported an over the month increase from the final March data. Some sectors with a notable decrease in April include: Accommodation & Food Services (-18,400 jobs or -61.3%), Retail Trade (-9,000 jobs or -25.4%), and Construction (-6,800 jobs or -46.3%).
Much of the construction industry returned to work in May. Retail also was allowed to reopen with restrictions of 25 percent occupancy or a maximum of 10 people, which ever is greater. Accommodation also has received the green light from Governor Scott to reopen, but only to Vermonters or those who have quarantined in Vermont for 14 days. This includes Vermonters returning from out-of-state.
Food services, including restaurants and now bars are allowed curbside service or outside seating, with limitations on distancing between tables and a total of 10 diners per table. There are also other limitations. However, indoor dining and bars are still prohibited from operation.
Guidance on all business regulations related to COVID-19 restrictions can be found at the Agency of Commerce & Community Development at accd.vermont.gov. All Labor Department-related questions, including unemployment issues, can be found at labor.vermont.gov.
The Unemployment and Jobs Report for May is scheduled to be released on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.