State News

Vt. unemployment steady at 4.4 percent

By Hilary Niles,

Vermont’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.4 percent in October, according to a report released Friday by the Department of Labor. The leveling follows four consecutive months of increases in the seasonally adjusted jobless rate. Nationwide, Vermont tied with Kansas for ninth place among states with the lowest unemployment rates.

The U.S. average unemployment rate ticked down one-tenth of a point to 5.8 percent. Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan said the summer slowdown in employment may be reversing direction.

October unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas, where data are not seasonally adjusted, ranged from 2.4 percent in Woodstock to 4.3 percent in Bennington and Newport. For comparison, the October unadjusted unemployment rate for all of Vermont was 3.4 percent, reflecting an eight-tenths of a percentage point decrease from revised September numbers, equating to 4,200 jobs. The increase is largely attributable to the return to school.

Examining non-seasonally adjusted employment year-to-year, manufacturing has grown by 3.2 percent, or 1,000 jobs, since October 2013. The growth occurred despite an estimated loss of 600 positions in computer and electrical equipment manufacturing. Food manufacturing made up for some of the losses with a 7.7 percent gain, or 400 jobs. The information sector has declined by roughly 4.4 percent, or 200 positions.

At the tail end of the leaf-peeping season, leisure and hospitality dropped 600 jobs from September, but still added 400 jobs overall compared to the same time last year. Those annual gains stemmed mostly from accommodations, as food service jobs dropped by 1,500, or 7.7 percent. The retail trade added 600 jobs for 1.6 percent annual growth.

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