Vermont’s unemployment rate drops to 6.5 percent

first_imgChange to        Mar. 2010 from   Total Labor Force362,300361,400361,3009001,000  Employment338,600337,400336,0001,2002,600  Unemployment23,70023,90025,400-200-1,700  Rate6.5%6.6%7.0%-0.1-0.5 Vermont Labor Force StatisticsSeasonally Adjusted Mar.  2010 Feb.  2010 Mar.  2009 Feb. 2010Mar. 2009 (Vermont Business Magazine) The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2010 was 6.5 percent, down one tenth from the revised February rate and down five tenths from a year ago. The unemployment rate continues to decline and the trends are pointing to overall employment growth. said Patricia Moulton Powden, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor. As is often the case during periods of recovery, there is volatility in the month to month numbers. We are seeing that this month in the two major labor market surveys we use to measure unemployment and job growth.  This all points to the need to look at trends over several months  versus a single month.Seasonal Job GrowthMarch is a variable month for job movements. Weather can impact Leisure and Hospitality.  School vacations can occur at different times relative to our survey time-frame. For most of the decade we have seen small seasonal declines typically in the -200 to -500 range.  Last March, in the depth of the recession, we shed over 3,600 jobs.  This year we saw a decline of -2,650 or -0.9% from February to March a larger than expected decline given recent trends.   The annual rate of unadjusted job growth is also now at -0.9% – considerably better than earlier in the year. The major contributor to seasonal job losses was Leisure & Hospitality, (-1,500 jobs or -4.0%). Retail Trade also shed jobs, (-600 or -1.7%).  Educational & Health Services dropped more than expected, (-450 or -0.7%).  On the plus side, Government sector jobs climbed by 300 or 0.5%, mostly as a result of temporary Census workers.When seasonally adjusted, March payroll jobs declined by 1,900 jobs or -0.6% over February. The declines were widespread with losses in Retail Trade, (-600 or -1.6%) Education & Health Services, (-600 or 1.0%) Leisure & Hospitality, (-600 or -1.7%).  Only the Government sector showed significant gains, (300 or 0.6%) again due to an influx of temporary Census workers.Employment GrowthVermont s March seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by one tenth of a point to 6.5% as a result of an increase of an estimated 1,200 employed and an essentially unchanged level of unemployed.  For comparison purposes, the US seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 9.7 percent, unchanged from February. March unemployment rates for Vermont s 17 labor market areas ranged from 5.2 percent in Hartford to 11.3 percent in Newport.  Local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. For comparison, the March unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 7.2 percent, up one-tenth of a point from February down seven tenths of a point from a year ago.  The observed levels of employment, unemployment and the unemployment rate were not statistically different from the February values.Annual Benchmark RevisionEach year in January we perform a benchmark revision of the CES (Current Employment Statistics) job counts and the LAUS (Local Areal Unemployment Statistics) employment and unemployment estimates.  In the case of CES, we replace survey data with actual job counts from our Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) through the third quarter of 2009 and then we reestimate fourth quarter 2009 jobs using this new information.  Since CES job counts are part of the LAUS unemployment model, we also revise the household unemployment series for the year. This year our CES and LAUS revisions were much larger than normal, partly because of the rapidly changing economy and partly due to methodology changes imposed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that had the impact of overestimating job loss in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009.   This, in turn, had the impact of overestimating our unemployment rate for the first two quarters of 2009.As we move forward we can expect small sample states like Vermont to exhibit a higher degree of variability in month to month job estimates in the CES program.  As a result of this change in methodology, caution should be used in interpreting a single month s results.  CES payroll job numbers are now best understood in the context of their movement over several months as opposed to observed changes in a single month estimate.Starting in January 2010 the LAUS program unemployment estimates have included a new statistical smoothing component that should reduce unexplainable short term large increases and decreases in the state s unemployment rate. Source: State of Vermont. 4.16.2010last_img read more