(Host) According to a new report, unemployment in Vermont dropped faster than in any other state in the country last month. But state officials believe the good news is going to be short lived and doesn’t represent a turnaround for the state economy.
Vermont’s unemployment rate for July was 6.8% – that’s half a percent lower than June’s rate. By comparison the national unemployment rate in July was 9.4 %.
Andy Condon is the chief of Economic and Labor Market Information at the Vermont Department of Labor.
Condon says the drop in the July rate was strongly influenced by two unique factors, and as a result, he doesn’t think it’s an indication that the Vermont economy is on its way back up:
(Condon) "One being about a thousand – or slightly less than a thousand – new summer youth jobs come into the state as a result of stimulus spending. And the second was perhaps some deferred hiring by the leisure and hospitality industry after a disappointing June. Those events combined to increase employment quite a bit in the state, but unfortunately that’s probably temporary."
(Host) Condon says he’s keeping a close watch on Vermont’s employment numbers as a barometer of the strength of the state’s economy.
He says total employment in Vermont is down about 4% from a year ago:
(Condon) "When that starts to recover… to me that’s an indication and perhaps a late indication that the economy is on its way back. Employment is often considered to be lagging indicator but we may see employment levels rising well before we see the unemployment rate starting to fall consistently."
(Host) Unemployment statistics are recorded in 17 different labor markets in Vermont – the Hartford region had the lowest rate in July at 3.7 % – while the Rutland area had the highest rate at 9.0%