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Vermont Unemployment Rate Rises For First Time In 8 Years

The unemployment rate in Vermont went up to 3.1 percent in April, the first increase in eight years, according to new preliminary data from the Department of Labor.The corresponding national unemployment rate for the month of April was 4.4 percent.

The last time Vermont’s unemployment rate increased was in May 2009, when unemployment went from 6.9 percent to 7 percent.

The economy, in Vermont and nationally, is very different than it was then.

Labor Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle said the data show continued recovery from the economic recession that started in 2008.

“There are currently fewer than 11,000 unemployed Vermonters; levels not seen since 2001,” Kurrle wrote. “At the heart of the last recession, there were over 25,000 unemployed Vermonters.”

The number of unemployed Vermonters went up slightly from March to April, from 10,600 to 10,750, even as the labor force shrank by 200.

The overall labor force of 347,300 shows an increase of 2,750 since March 2016, according to the Department of Labor.

Economic & Labor Market Information Chief Matthew Barewicz, who works for the state Department of Labor, noted in an email to VPR that the new data are preliminary.

"The reason I mention this is that last year (2016), [the Vermont Department of Labor] announced two preliminary rate increases – one in June and another in August.  This preliminary data was ultimately revised due to the inclusion of more data such that no over-the-month increase occurred as detailed in the previously referenced historical data," Barewicz wrote.

The same could be true for the April data, but according to Barewicz it's too soon to know if that's the case.

"Whether this preliminary over-the-month rise in the unemployment rate stands up to the inclusion of more data during annual processing will be determined next year once additional data is considered," he wrote.

Update 11:40 a.m. This post was updated to clarify that the new unemployment data is preliminary and add quotes from Matthew Barewicz.

Taylor was VPR's digital reporter from 2013 until 2017. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.
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