FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, October 7, 2014
According to data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, not only is Vermont’s labor force shrinking on the whole, but fewer of those remaining are participating in the labor market at all.
The Ethan Allen Institute recently participated in Liberty Foundation project studying state by state labor force participation going back fifteen years.
Between 1999 and 2014 Vermont’s total labor force participation rate has dropped from 72.10% to 68.2%. Overall, the participation percentage held steady, hovering just above 70% between 2000 and 2011 before steep drop offs in 2012 and 2013. (See Chart 1)
Chart 1. Vermont Labor Force Participation Rate, (BLS, Liberty Foundation)
View Full Demographic Breakdowns: Vermont Labor Participation Stats
While Vermont’s total civilian labor force generally grew between 1999 and 2009, it has also dropped steeply since 2011 from a peak of over 360,000 to about 350,000 today. (See Chart 2)
Chart 2. Vermont Civilian Labor Force (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
This dynamic sets us apart from our neighbors. The labor force participation rates for Maine have been increasing since 2010, have been declining slightly in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and have remained largely flat in New York. However, none of these states has seen a decline in its total labor force the way Vermont has. (MA, NH, ME, NY).
Vermont is the only state in the area with both a shrinking labor force pie and a shrinking slice of participants in that pie. The “Great Recession” officially ended in June of 2009. These numbers are occurring in what is supposed to be an economic recovery. It certainly doesn’t look or feel like it.
###Contact: Rob Roper President, Ethan Allen Institute 802-999-8145