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Corey Harrington waits to be served Monday at the Vermont Department of Labor in Bennington. Unemployment has shown an increase locally. (Peter Crabtree)
Corey Harrington waits to be served Monday at the Vermont Department of Labor in Bennington. Unemployment has shown an increase locally. (Peter Crabtree)
Corey Harrington waits to be served Monday at the Vermont Department of Labor in Bennington. Unemployment has shown an increase locally. (Peter Crabtree)
Tuesday March 19, 2013

NEAL P. GOSWAMI

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- The statewide unemployment rate dropped in January to 4.7 percent, but the local Bennington-area labor market saw a bump likely related to season jobs, local officials said.

The Vermont Department of Labor reported Monday that the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for January dropped two-tenths of a point to 4.7 percent.

The national average in January was 7.9 percent, was up one-tenth of a percent from December. The January unemployment rate in Vermont represents the sixth straight month without an increase to the rate in Vermont. Vermont is tied for the fourth-lowest rate in the country, according to the state Department of Labor.

State Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan said in a release Monday that Ja nuary's rate continued a strong economic recovery in 2012.

"Vermont's economic recovery during 2012 was actually stronger than first reported. The 2012 annual rate for Vermont was 5 percent which is one of the lowest in the country. In January 2013, the positive trend continued as the state recorded an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent. The Department is continuing to analyze the revised 2012 data to gain insight into what the future of the Vermont economy may look like," Noonan said.

The Bennington-area labor market saw a rise in unemployment. According to data released by the Department of Labor, the rate rose from 5.9 percent in December to 6.5 percent in January. The individual labor market data is not seasonally adjusted, however.

Bennington County Industrial Corp. Executive Director Peter Odierna said the bump is likely due to the end of seasonal jobs following the holiday season.

"We've had no plant closures, no major layoffs," Odierna said. "As a matter of fact, most companies are looking for talent."

The independent and nonpartisan Public Assets Institute noted the drop in the statewide unemployment rate. However, PAI also noted Monday that the number of employed Vermonters dropped in January.

And after six months of steady increases in the state's labor force, that also dropped in January.

Contact Neal Goswami at ngoswami@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @nealgoswami