On January 2, 2019

As rural economies go in the nation, so goes Vermont

By David Moats

Economic stagnation in Vermont is not new. For decades, it has defied the efforts of political leaders, Republican and Democrat, to solve it.

What’s new is a growing awareness that the problem is a widespread condition, animating protests from Paris to London, from Oklahoma to Arizona, West Virginia to Vermont.

A new report from the Public Assets Institute of Montpelier has shone new light on how Vermont workers continue to struggle. It is called “The State of Working Vermont 2018,” and it’s the latest installment in a series of reports charting the economic conditions affecting Vermonters at all income levels. It’s likely that a report on workers in rural France would yield similar findings. In France conditions of stagnation have produced weeks of unrest by protesters wearing yellow vests. The Yellow Vest movement is just the latest instance of rebellion by people who see that capitalism in its present form has a put a stranglehold on their economic prospects.

The Public Assets report finds Vermont was one of only 10 states where median income fell in 2017, and it remains below where it was in 2007 — before the Great Recession. The report finds that if median income in Vermont had kept pace with growth in the rest of the nation it would be $6,500 higher.

In many ways the report details trends that are commonly understood by Vermonters. Most of the income and employment growth in the state has occurred in Chittenden County. Meanwhile, the total workforce in Vermont remains below its level of 2006, the lingering effect of the Great Recession, and also of the accelerating pace of baby boomer retirements.

Public Assets also points to many oft-mentioned problems that continue to block economic progress: the lack of affordable child care; the high cost of housing; and the

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Moving sticks and rocks

May 22, 2024
By Merisa Sherman Then the tough choice of how to play today:ski, bike, paddle, fish, hike, run?  The bug went down my throat. Literally, flew down my throat and landed in the back at such speed that I had no choice but to just swallow. Mmmmm, gotta love that extra protein that Vermont provides during…

What are the chances?

May 22, 2024
Vesna Vulovic is a name etched in the annals of miraculous survival — perhaps the most unlikely survival story of all time. She was thrust into the spotlight on Jan. 26, 1972, when she unwittingly became a symbol of human resilience.  A native of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Vesna’s journey to that fateful day began like that…

The Outside Story: Jesup’s milk-vetch: A rare beauty

May 22, 2024
A few ledges along the Connecticut River are home to a rare plant commonly known as Jesup’s milk-vetch (Astragalus robbinsii var. jesupii). In fact, this species, which has been listed as federally endangered since 1987, only grows at six sites along a 16-mile stretch of the river in New Hampshire and Vermont. But conservationists are working…

Boys, brothers, dad, Vermont

May 22, 2024
Building a Killington Dream Lodge: part 14 By Marguerite Jill Dye Dad made progress and forged ahead on our Killington ski lodge while Mom, Billie, and I toured Europe. Our extensive European whirlwind trip was the very beginning of my awakening to understand the world and how I fit in. I had no idea what…