PRESS RELEASE: Vermont's Unemployment Rate Decreases to 4.8 Percent in August

18 September 2020

Today, the Vermont Department of Labor released data on the Vermont economy for the time period covering August 2020. According to household data, the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for August was 4.8 percent. This reflects a decrease of three and five-tenths percentage points from the prior month’s revised estimate of 8.3 percent.

Commissioner's Message

“The August report shows employment in the hardest-hit industries such as Leisure and Hospitality is rising but still below pre-pandemic levels.  Meanwhile, data based on the U.S. Census’ monthly household survey estimates that nearly 15,000 Vermonters exited the labor force in August. 

To be considered part of the statistical labor force, survey respondents must be actively looking for work and willing to accept work if offered; however, the daily impacts of this emergency, from childcare and remote education, to concerns about workplace and personal safety, make the search for work much more challenging.

Knowing that the actual number of Vermonters filing weekly for unemployment benefits remains much higher than the survey data, and that traditional work search requirements have been suspended, we know that the results of the household survey do not accurately reflect Vermont's economic reality.  What is clear, is that the traditional definitions used to calculate unemployment rates or categorize displaced workers under normal circumstances, do not align with the crisis environment we’re in today.” - Michael Harrington, Labor Commissioner

State of Vermont Overview

The Vermont seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate decreased three and five-tenths percentage points to 4.8 percent in August. The comparable United States rate in August was 8.4 percent, a decrease of one and eight-tenths percentage points from the revised July estimate. The seasonally-adjusted Vermont data for August show the Vermont civilian labor force decreased by 14,812 from the prior month’s revised estimate. The number of employed persons decreased by 2,068 and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 12,744. The changes to the labor force, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were statistically significant in the seasonally-adjusted series.

The August unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 3.3 percent in Newbury to 7.0 percent in Woodstock (note: local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally-adjusted). For comparison, the August unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 4.6 percent, which was a decrease of three and six-tenths percentage points from the revised unadjusted July level and an increase of two and three-tenths percentage points from a year ago.

Analysis of Job Changes by Industry

Not-Seasonally Adjusted

The preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ jobs estimates for August show an increase of 4,900 jobs when compared to the revised July numbers. There was a decrease of 400 jobs between the preliminary and the revised July estimates due to the inclusion of more data. The broader economic picture can be seen by focusing on the over-the-year changes in this data series. As detailed in the preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ August data, Total Private industries have decreased by 33,200 jobs (-12.7 percent) and Government (including public education) employment has decreased by 700 jobs (-1.3 percent) in the past year.


The seasonally-adjusted data for August reports an increase of 3,700 jobs from the revised July data. As with the ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ data, this over-the-month change is from the revised July numbers which experienced a decrease of 400 jobs from the preliminary estimates. The seasonally-adjusted over-the-month changes in August varied at the sector level. Those with a notable increase include: Federal Government (+800 jobs or +11.0%), Other Services (+400 jobs or +4.4%), and Leisure & Hospitality (+800 jobs or +3.9%). Sectors with a notable decrease include: Financial Activities (-200 jobs or -1.8%) and State Government (-200 jobs or -1.0%).

The Unemployment and Jobs Report for August is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Read full report at

Contact Information

COVID-19 Update: Department of Labor offices are currently closed due to COVID-19. Please contact the Department by phone.

Vermont Department of Labor
5 Green Mountain Drive
P.O. Box 488
Montpelier, 05601-0488
(802) 828-4000

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