Unemployment rate falls another tenth to 3.1 percent

Vermont Business Magazine Today, the Vermont Department of Labor is reporting that the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for February was 3.1 percent. This reflects a decrease of one-tenth of one percentage point from the prior month’s revised estimate of 3.2 percent. The comparable United States rate in February was 6.2 percent, which was a decrease of one-tenth of one percentage point from the revised January estimate. The unemployment report is based on household data. The decline is largely due to a sharp decrease in the Labor Force from January. The number of unemployed also fell. Both the Labor Force and total Employed represent about 30,000 fewer workers than a year ago, which was pre-pandemic.

Vermont is again tied for third lowest rate in the nation, along with Nebraska. North Dakota is lowest at 2.9 percent. Hawaii is highest at 9.2 percent. See table below.

The numbers above do not include the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). If included, the total number receiving unemployment benefts in Vermont is over 34,000.

Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington said: “Employment data is what is called lagging data, as it is always looking in the rearview mirror. In real-time, the economic impacts of the pandemic turned one-year-old this month; however, for this report, we are looking at February 2021. What is interesting about the data in this month’s publication, is that since February 2020, the only sector that has experienced over the year job growth is Professional & Technical Services. At its current level, it is tied for a historical high. The reasons for this are twofold – first, this industry has shown greater resilience to the economic disruption of COVID-19 than other sectors because jobs in this sector can more easily be transferred to a virtual work environment or can operate with a high degree of social distancing. Secondly, the long, overall trend for this industry is positive, with some saying it is the future of the American economy. With highly skilled positions in areas such as information technology, finance and accounting, computer programming, and other business-to-business services, this sector is poised for continued growth over the coming years. At the Department of Labor, we are working to increase awareness about jobs in this sector and others, and what type of skills are necessary in order for jobseekers to find meaningful employment. In many cases, individuals can find entry into these career paths through career technical education, post-secondary certificate programs, or a 2-year degree. Visit www.labor.vermont.gov/jobs for more information.” - Michael Harrington, Labor Commissioner

State of Vermont Overview

The seasonally-adjusted Vermont data for February show the Vermont civilian labor force decreased by 1,351 from the prior month’s revised estimate (see Table 1). The number of employed persons decreased by 840 and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 511. The changes to the labor force, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were statistically significant in the seasonally-adjusted series.

The February unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 2.6 percent in Northfield-Waitsfield to 4.4 percent in Derby (note: local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally-adjusted – see Table 2). For comparison, the February unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 3.3 percent, which was a decrease of four-tenths of one percentage point from the revised unadjusted January level and an increase of seven-tenths of one percentage point from a year ago.

Analysis of Job Changes by Industry

The seasonally-adjusted data for February reports a decrease of 500 jobs from the revised January data. There was an increase of 300 jobs between the preliminary and the revised January estimates due to the inclusion of more data. The seasonally-adjusted over-the-month changes in February varied at the industry level. Those with a notable increase include: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+300 jobs or +10.3%), Professional and Technical Services (+300 jobs or +1.9%) and Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing (+200 jobs or +1.8%). Industries with a notable decrease include: Real Estate, Rental & Leasing (-100 jobs or -3.4%), Administrative & Waste Services (-200 jobs or -1.7%) and Private Educational Services (-200 jobs or -1.6%).

The preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ jobs estimates for February shows an increase of 2,600 jobs when compared to the revised January numbers. As with the ‘seasonally-adjusted’ data, this over-the-month change is from the revised January numbers which experienced an increase of 300 jobs from the preliminary estimates. 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’ February data, Total Private industries have decreased by 23,300 jobs (-9.0%) and Government (including public education) employment has decreased by 4,200 jobs (-7.3%) in the past year.

The Unemployment and Jobs Report for March is scheduled to be released on Friday, April 16, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. Read full report at http://www.vtlmi.info/press.pdf.

Unemployment Rates for States, Seasonally Adjusted
State February 2021(p)

South Dakota

2.9 1


3.0 2


3.1 3


3.1 3


3.2 5


3.3 6

New Hampshire

3.3 6


3.6 8


3.8 9


3.9 10


4.0 11


4.0 11


4.2 13


4.3 14


4.4 15


4.5 16


4.7 17

North Dakota

4.7 17


4.8 19


4.8 19


4.9 21


5.0 22


5.2 23


5.2 23

South Carolina

5.2 23


5.2 23


5.3 27


5.6 28

North Carolina

5.7 29


6.1 30


6.2 31

West Virginia

6.2 31


6.3 33


6.3 33


6.6 35


6.6 35


6.9 37


6.9 37


7.1 39


7.3 40

Rhode Island

7.3 40


7.4 42


7.6 43

New Jersey

7.8 44

District of Columbia

8.1 45


8.3 46

New Mexico

8.3 46


8.5 48


8.5 48

New York

8.9 50


9.2 51

(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: March 26, 2021