Press Release: VT Department of Labor March 2020 Unemployment and Jobs Report

17 April 2020

​Today, the Vermont Department of Labor released data on the Vermont economy for the time period covering March 2020. According to household data, the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for March was 3.2 percent. This reflects an increase of eight-tenths of a percent from the prior month’s estimate of 2.4 percent. To read the full report, visit http://www.vtlmi.info/.

Commissioner’s Message

“The March data in this report primarily reflects activity during the week of March 8th through March 14th. The Governor declared a State of Emergency on March 13th. As such, the economic impact of COVID-19 is only partially reflected in this report. The March data captures the early effects on unemployment with both the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate rising sharply. These increases are dwarfed by the elevated levels of unemployment insurance claims we have seen since mid-March. It is anticipated the monthly press release for April will look much different and should be more consistent with the significant economic disruption we are all experiencing. The Department is adding staff and leveraging technology to assist those impacted by COVID-19.” 
- Michael Harrington, Acting Labor Commissioner

State of Vermont Overview

The Vermont seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate increased eight-tenths of one percentage point to 3.2 percent in March. The comparable United States rate in March was 4.4 percent, an increase of nine-tenths of one percentage point from the revised February estimate. The seasonally-adjusted Vermont data for March show the Vermont civilian labor force increased by 2,239 from the prior month’s revised estimate. The number of employed persons decreased by 590 and the number of unemployed persons increased by 2,829. The changes to the labor force, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were statistically significant in the seasonally-adjusted series.

The March unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 2.4 percent in Woodstock to 7.2 percent in Derby (note: local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally-adjusted). For comparison, the March unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 3.4 percent, which was an increase of eight-tenths of one percentage point from the revised unadjusted February level and an increase of seven-tenths of one percentage point from a year ago.

Analysis of Job Changes by Industry

Not-Seasonally-Adjusted

The preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ jobs estimates for March show a decrease of 3,800 jobs when compared to the revised February numbers. There was a decrease of 100 jobs between the preliminary and the revised February estimates due to the inclusion of more data. The monthly decrease seen in the March numbers was broad-based. The overall economic trends can be detected by focusing on the over-the-year changes in this data series. As detailed in the preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ March data, Total Private industries have decreased by 8,100 jobs (-3.1 percent) and Government (including public education) employment has increased by 1,100 jobs (1.9 percent) in the past year.

Seasonally-Adjusted

The seasonally-adjusted data for March reports a decrease of 2,900 jobs from the revised February data. As with the ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ data, this over-the-month change is from the revised February numbers which experienced a decrease of 700 jobs from the preliminary estimates. The seasonally-adjusted over-the-month changes in March varied at the sector level. Those with a notable increase include: Federal Government (+200 jobs or +2.8%) and Financial Activities (+200 jobs or +1.7%). Sectors with a notable decrease include: Leisure and Hospitality (-900 jobs or -2.5%) and State Government (-400 jobs or -2.0%).