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Vermont’s Unemployment Rate Decreases to 2.6 Percent in May

Today, the Vermont Department of Labor released data on the Vermont economy for the time period covering May 2021. According to household data, the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for May was 2.6 percent. This reflects a decrease of three-tenths of one percentage point from the prior month’s revised estimate.

Commissioner's Message

“As job seekers return to the labor force, it can be expected that the unemployment rate will rise. This is because the labor force and unemployment rate both calculate individuals who are actively seeking employment. However, with this release of the May 2021 data, we see Vermont’s unemployment rate decrease to 2.6 percent, putting us back to pre-pandemic levels. This is not completely unexpected as the work search was reinstated in May 2021 and a number of COVID work search exemptions were still in place at the time.  Before COVID, the Vermont labor market had a historically low unemployment rate and was experiencing a shortage of workers. We are now seeing similar conditions as restrictions have lifted and businesses across all industries look to move past this recent global health event. This is why, now more than ever, it is crucial that employers encourage their employees to get vaccinated and unemployed Vermonters return to work." - Michael Harrington, Labor Commissioner

State of Vermont Overview

The Vermont seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 2.6 percent in May. The comparable United States rate in May was 5.8 percent, which was a decrease of three-tenths of one percentage point from the revised April estimate. The seasonally-adjusted Vermont data for May show the Vermont civilian labor force increased by 378 from the prior month’s revised estimate (see Table 1). The number of employed persons increased by 1,296 and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 918. The changes to employment, unemployment and the unemployment rate were statistically significant in the seasonally-adjusted series.

The May unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 1.2 percent in Barre-Montpelier, Burlington-South Burlington, and Middlebury to 2.4 percent in Woodstock (note: local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally-adjusted – see Table 2). For comparison, the May unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 1.4 percent, which was a decrease of one and six-tenths of one percentage point from the revised unadjusted April level and a decrease of eight percentage points from a year ago.

Analysis of Job Changes by Industry
Seasonally-Adjusted (Table 3)

The seasonally-adjusted data for May reports an increase of 1,800 jobs from the revised April data. There was an increase of 200 jobs between the preliminary and the revised April estimates due to the inclusion of more data. The seasonally-adjusted over-the-month changes in May varied at the industry level. Those with a notable increase include: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+300 jobs or +9.4%), Other Services (+800 jobs or +8.3%) and Accommodation & Food Services (+1,200 jobs or +4.9%). Industries with a notable decrease include: Construction (-600 jobs or -3.9%), Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities (-100 jobs or -1.3%) and Wholesale Trade (-100 jobs or -1.2%).

Not-Seasonally-Adjusted (Table 4)

The preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ jobs estimates for May shows an increase of 3,100 jobs when compared to the revised April numbers. As with the ‘seasonally-adjusted’ data, this over-the-month change is from the revised April numbers which experienced a decrease of 200 jobs from the preliminary estimates. 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’ May data, Total Private industries have increased by 28,200 jobs (+13.3%) and Government (including public education) employment has decreased by 1,200 jobs (-2.3%) in the past year.

The Unemployment and Jobs Report for June is scheduled to be released on Friday, July 16, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. Read full report at