Vermont unemployment ticks up for the first time in 10 months

Vermont's official unemployment rate ticked up to 3.5 percent in June, placing it in a three-way tie with Nebraska and Utah for the second-lowest rate among U.S. states.

North Dakota kept the lowest unemployment rate distinction at 2.7 percent. The national average in June is estimated as 6.1 percent, a two-tenths percentage point decline from the revised May estimate.

Vermont's increase from 3.3 percent is the first rise in official unemployment since July 2013, when it touched 4.5 percent, up from 4.4 percent in June 2013. Last month's change follows a cyclical trend of slight unemployment increases during summer months, according to Annie Noonan, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor.

"If historical patterns hold, this temporary period of adjustment should be present for the next month or two before returning to the recent downward trend," Noonan said in a news release.

Though the percentage of unemployed Vermonters rose slightly, the approximate number of residents in the workforce bumped up by 150, to 351,300.

In June the number of working Vermonters declined by 750, while the number of unemployed rose by 900. The difference tipped the scales to bump the overall unemployment rate up.

The official unemployment rate is based on nationwide household surveys asking if people available to work have looked for employment in the most recent four weeks.

alternative unemployment rates

Alternative unemployment rates are based on different questions to tease out the percentage of long-term unemployed, temporary workers, discouraged job seekers and underemployed individuals.

So far in 2014, Vermont's running annual averages are in line or slightly below 2013, with the exception of long-term unemployed. That rate is on the rise, from 1.7 in 2013 to 1.8 percent so far.

growth and decline by industry

Without adjusting for seasonal trends, industries showing incremental growth in Vermont in June were construction and leisure and hospitality.

Seasonally adjusted, construction also grew slightly, along with professional and business services, plus education and health services. Leisure and hospitality declined somewhat faster, at 3.1 percent (1,100 jobs). State government came down 2.2 percent (400 jobs) and transportation, trade and utilities dropped 1.4 percent (800 jobs).

local labor markets

Only the official unemployment rates - not alternative estimates - are available in local labor markets around the state. The numbers are not seasonally adjusted, so their combined average differs from official figures.

The Hartford area again saw the lowest local unemployment rate, at 2.7 percent. Warren-Waitsfield came in second, with 3.2 percent unemployment, followed by the Burlington-South Burlington and Woodstock areas, at 3.5 percent.

Newport held the highest local area unemployment rate, at 5.4 percent. Springfield, Rutland and St. Johnsbury followed with 4.9, 4.8 and 4.7 percent, respectively.


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