(Host) Vermont’s unemployment rate continues to decline, dropping two-tenths of one percentage point last month, to 5.4 percent.
The March rate was more than a full percentage point better than March 2010.
Mathew Barewicz is with the Vermont Department of Labor.
Barewizc says the numbers show that Vermont has turned a corner, and is beginning to emerge from the economic recession.
But Barewizc warns that Vermont has a long way to go before reaching pre-recession unemployment numbers.
(Barewicz) "When you see the number 5.4 for the month of March 2011, that may seem like welcome news, but when you look back on Vermont’s history, I mean Vermont has had an unemployment rate in the 4’s, in the mid-3’s, so we’re still at an elevated level of unemployment."
(Host) March unemployment in Vermont’s 17 labor markets ranged from 3.9 percent in Warren-Waitsfield to 9.9 percent in Newport.
Barewizc points to significant hiring in the manufacturing, professional and business, and leisure and hospitality industries.
But he says that the construction industry was particularly affected by the economic downturn, and has yet to rebound.