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Unemployment Down Despite Lower Workforce in Vermont


The monthly unemployment report shows Vermont’s remains far below the national rate.  But some say that’s because more people are dropping out of the labor force, not because they’ve found jobs.

The Vermont Department of Labor says the state's unemployment dropped to 4.1 percent in March, a three-tenths of a percent decline and the eighth straight month without an increase. The rate is far below the national rate for March of 7.6 percent. Governor Shumlin praised the numbers, noting Vermont is reporting the third lowest unemployment rate in the country.

Vermont Department of Labor Economic and Labor Market Information Chief Mathew Barewicz says the state has historically reported lower unemployment rates than the nation overall.

But Public Assets Institute President Paul Cillo says its not really known why Vermont’s unemployment rate traditionally tallies low.

The Public Assets Institute releases a Monthly Jobs Brief at the same time the state issues its unemployment report. Cillo says the labor force shrank by 1,650 people, and there are actually fewer people employed in Vermont than a year ago.

Mathew Barewicz says there has been a trend at the national level of people leaving the labor force, but the trend is not yet occurring in Vermont.

Paul Cillo notes that statistically, there can be a reduction in employment at the same time the unemployment rate goes down.

The New York State Department of Labor released preliminary March unemployment rates on Tuesday.  Overall unemployment was 8.2 percent with the highest levels in Lewis, Hamilton, Bronx and Jefferson counties and the lowest unemployment in Tompkins, Putnam, Nassau and Rockland counties.

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