Jobless rate falls to 3.1 percent, labor force increases

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Jobless rate falls to 3.1 percent, labor force increases

Fri, 01/20/2017 - 10:37am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont's unemployment rate fell one-tenth last month, but the better news was that both the labor force and the number of employed both increased, while the number of unemployed fell. The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for December was 3.1 percent. This reflects a decrease of one-tenth of one percentage point from the revised November rate (3.2 percent). December was also the first month since last May where both the adjusted and unadjusted jobs numbers increased. The national rate in December was 4.7 percent, up one-tenth.

As of the prior month’s initial data, the Burlington-South Burlington Metropolitan NECTA was tied for eighth lowest unemployment rate in the country for all metropolitan areas at 2.3 percent (not-seasonally-adjusted). Overall, Vermont’s unemployment rate was tied for seventh lowest in the country for the same time period. Based on preliminary 2016 data, early estimates show a statewide annual average unemployment rate of 3.2 percent. Barring revision, this level would represent a five-tenths of one percentage point decrease from 2015. In addition, this would rank as Vermont’s lowest annual average unemployment rate since the year 2000.

“Preliminary data for calendar year 2016 indicates more Vermonters were employed in 2016 than in 2015. If the preliminary data holds, this would be the first over-the-year rise in employed persons in four years. Going forward, increases to the number of employed persons in Vermont will become more challenging due to projected low population growth and anticipated retirements from the Baby-Boomer generation. The Vermont Department of Labor is committed to maximizing employment outcomes for all Vermonters and ensuring a skilled and adequate workforce for Vermont employers”, said Labor Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle.

The seasonally-adjusted Vermont data for December show the Vermont civilian labor force increased by 200 from the prior month’s revised estimate. The number of employed increased by 500 and the number of unemployed decreased by 300. The change to the number of unemployed and the change to the unemployment rate were statistically significant in the seasonally-adjusted series.

The December unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 2.1 percent in White River Junction and Burlington-South Burlington to 5.0 percent in Derby (note: local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally-adjusted). For comparison, the December unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 2.8 percent which reflects a decrease of one-tenth of one percentage point from the revised unadjusted November level and a decrease of three-tenths of one percentage point from a year ago.


The preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ jobs estimates for December show an increase of 4,000 jobs when compared to the revised November numbers. There was an increase of 100 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 attributable to winter tourism activities. 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 increased by 600 jobs (0.2 percent) and Government (including public education) employment has increased by 700 jobs (1.2 percent) in the past year.


The seasonally-adjusted data for December reports an increase of 600 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 200 jobs from the preliminary estimates. The seasonally-adjusted over-the-month changes in December were mixed at the industry level. Those with a notable percent increase include: Construction (+800 jobs or +5.3%), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+200 jobs or +4.3%), and Professional & Technical Services (+300 jobs or +2.1%). Sectors with a notable percent decrease include: Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities (-300 jobs or -3.7%), Real Estate, Rental & Leasing (-100 jobs or -3.4%), and Private Educational Services (-400 jobs or -2.9%).

NOTE: The Unemployment and Jobs Report for January is scheduled to be released on Monday, March 13, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. The delay is to rectify the annual report.

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.