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PAI: Jobs were up, joblessness still low—but not uniformly

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 4:35pm -- tim

Public Assets Institute In his January 5 Inaugural Address Governor Phil Scott talked about the economic disparities between Vermont communities and the need to level the playing field. December’s unemployment rates highlight the challenges of doing so. Overall, Vermont’s jobless rate ranked among the best in the country—tied for sixth lowest. But the rate in Orleans County was two and half times the rate in Chittenden County—5 percent versus 2 percent. Jobs were also unequally distributed. The Vermont Department of Labor pointed out Tuesday that 90 percent of the new positions created in 2022 were in the greater Burlington area. 

Vermont’s unemployment rate increased to 2.6 percent in December

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 4:10pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Today, the Vermont Department of Labor released data on the Vermont economy for the time period covering December 2022. According to household data, the seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for December was 2.6 percent. This reflects an increase of one-tenth of one percentage point from the prior month’s revised estimate. The civilian labor force participation rate was 61.8 percent in December, up one-tenth of one percentage point from the prior month. The comparable United States rate in December was 3.5 percent, a decrease of one-tenth of one percentage point from the revised November estimate. Vermont is tied for the 6th lowest rate in the nation.

VSP,  Attorney General announce availability of safe firearms storage sites across Vermont

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 4:10pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermonters who need to remove firearms from their homes now have access to a renewed program that provides safe storage at sites statewide, the Vermont State Police and the Vermont Attorney General’s Office announced today. Under the Firearms Storage Program, eight federally licensed firearms dealers in the state have signed up to accept firearms for temporary storage due to a protection order or for other safekeeping reasons. People may need to access safe firearms storage sites either due to a court order, or for other reasons such as travel, the presence of young children, mental health concerns, and more.

Hartland man arrested for possession of child sexual abuse material

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 4:09pm -- tim

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office announced today that Joshua Douglas, 34, of Hartland, Vermont, was arraigned yesterday on six felony and four misdemeanor counts of Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material. The charges brought against Mr. Douglas are the result of a criminal investigation, including the execution of residential and online data search warrants conducted by the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (VT-ICAC), including personnel from the Attorney General’s Office, New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, Vermont State Police, and with the assistance of the Hartford Police Department and Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Proposal would phase in Universal Health Care, starting with primary care and mental health

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 1:34pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Representative Brian Cina is introducing a bill to implement publicly financed universal health care starting with primary care and mental health. Over 40 House members have enthusiastically signed on as co-sponsors so far. Senator Chris Bray will introduce a companion bill in the Senate.

Mayer: Paid family and medical leave is more essential now than ever

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 1:29pm -- tim

by Sascha Mayer As a women-owned, Certified B-Corporation that designs free-standing lactation suites for parents to pump or nurse in private, our business model was largely informed by our personal experiences and challenges as working moms – and, by extension, our families. Since our founding back in 2013, Mamava has strived to create a workplace that not only celebrates the gifts our employees bring to the company but also ensures that they feel safe and supported both inside and outside of the office – that’s why we provide paid family and medical leave (PFML) to our employees and are proud to be strong advocates for a universal, mandatory paid family and medical leave program here in Vermont. Over the years, PFML has proven to be an invaluable staff recruitment and retention tool for our business.

NBT Bancorp announces 2022 net income of $152 million, approves dividend

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 11:03am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine NBT Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ: NBTB), the parent company of NBT Bank with branches in Vermont, reported net income and diluted earnings per share for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2022. Net income for the year ended December 31, 2022, was $152.0 million, or $3.52 per diluted common share, compared to $154.9 million, or $3.54 per diluted share, in the prior year.

Vermont Supreme Court to hear public records case related to EB-5 program this week

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 10:23am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine On Wednesday, January 25, the Vermont Supreme Court will hear a case challenging the State’s withholding of information about public records pertaining to oversight of the EB-5 Foreign Investor Program, which led to the largest financial fraud in Vermont history. The Vermont Journalism Trust (VJT), which operates VTDigger, filed a lawsuit in 2020 against the Agency of Commerce and Community Development seeking records that would show why the State allowed Jay Peak developers to continue signing up investors for EB-5 projects after potential fraud was flagged nearly a decade earlier. Though a trial court ordered the State to turn over certain records to VJT in 2021, the State refused to say which records it is not providing, in clear violation of the public records statute.

Howard Center to reveal 'Creating Hope Raffle' winner to benefit street outreach

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 9:59am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Von Bargen's Jewelry has donated a gold pendant valued at $4,550 to Howard Center for the Creating Hope raffle to raise funds for Street Outreach. All 150 tickets sold out in the first 24 hours of the raffle. A winner will be drawn February 1. The raffle prize is a stunning piece of jewelry that was recently returned to Von Bargen's after a theft from their store on Church Street. Von Bargen’s staff hope to turn a challenging situation into an opportunity to benefit Howard Center’s Street Outreach team whose work supports the downtown district every day.

Leffler and Tetrault: Let's make an investment together to end Vermont’s child care crisis

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 9:37am -- tim

by Brian Leffler and Nikki Tetrault Instrumart is a 34-year-old Vermont-based company that was recently voted one of the Best Places to Work in the State of Vermont. Happily calling ourselves an employee-focused company, we are keenly interested in the health and well-being of the families which make up our collective Instrumart family. For example, Instrumart provides 100% employer-paid health insurance benefits for our employees and their families. This is an investment that we make in our employees and their family's well-being and, we think this investment and our return on this investment are well worth the cost.

Leichliter: Universal School Meals help families cope in the face of spiking food costs

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 7:51am -- tim

by Dr Michael G. Leichliter We’ve all seen the egg story — a dozen eggs is, at its cheapest, more than five dollars in Vermont stores currently. For the two in five people who experience hunger in our state, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The looming end of SNAP Emergency Allotments from the federal government, one of several COVID-19 pandemic federal nutrition supports that have been withdrawn, means that about $6 million that has sustained so many of our neighbors - and many of my district’s students and their families, will leave an impossible hole to fill. All this is to say that now is the time to celebrate Vermont’s successes and continue to work toward solidifying the supports we have in place now — like Universal School Meals.

VAHHS update from Montpelier, 'village on fire'

Tue, 01/24/2023 - 4:01am -- tim

by Devon Green, VP of Government Relations, Vermont Association of Hospitals & Health Systems With all the new legislators, I worried about endless introductory presentations and a slow start before delving into the issues. I’m happy to report that I was wrong. Whether it’s the joy of being back in person, or the infusion of new members, or the sheer amount of work that needs to be done, there’s a new energy in the building. Legislators get that the “village is on fire” and they’re getting down to work.