Unemployment in the Northeast Kingdom ticked down in October as the labor force and total employed increased slightly.
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It’s a matter of semantics. The road to my home is riddled with winter potholes; now being that it’s the end of June and they’re wielding their power by taking down motor vehicles and bicyclists, they can now be called chuckholes. Feel free to add an adverb. Another matter of semantics is the current state of the workforce.
On the surface, Vermont’s latest unemployment numbers suggest economic conditions in the Northeast Kingdom are nearly matching where they were prior to the pandemic, but that headline numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Last week State Auditor Doug Hoffer released a report that said health care spending increased in Vermont 167 percent from 2000 to 2018. He said Vermonters spend $9,000 a year for their care, almost $2,000 more than the national average. He said costs have risen, unabated, since the Green Mountain Care Board was created in 2013. That’s notable because the entire reason the GMCB exists is to bend the cost curve - a feat it has yet to achieve a single time since inception.
The latest unemployment report issued by the Vermont Department of Labor shows that while the state’s unemployment rate is still significantly above historic norms, the Northeast Kingdom is weathering the storm better than other regions of the state.
The latest unemployment report shows a modest improvement of economic conditions in the Northeast Kingdom compared to earlier in the pandemic, but a continued high unemployment rate.
Friday’s release of unemployment data showed the significance of the economic toll the pandemic is having across the state, and the Northeast Kingdom is no different.
Public health emergencies, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, threaten our access to the food that we take for granted. Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do about this.
While the latest Vermont unemployment figures show the state bests regional and national levels, the Northeast Kingdom continues to trail the state with some of the highest unemployment in Vermont.