The Vermont Department of Labor released recently data on the state’s workforce and total employment for the month of May 2014.
Despite the claims from Gov, Peter Shumlin and his political allies, the data supports what Vermonters know to be the truth -- Vermont’s economy is stagnant, there is virtually no net job growth and low- and middle-income families are struggling under the burden of rising costs.
Though you won’t hear Governor Shumlin admit it, from May 2013 to May 2014 Vermont’s labor force shrunk by another 550 workers. These are Vermonters who have given up trying to find a job, left the state to look for employment elsewhere, or retired and were not replaced by younger workers. In that same time period, Vermont’s total employment (seasonally adjusted) has increased by less than 0.4 percent (339,700 in 2014 vs. 338,400 in 2013). Job opportunities in Vermont are being lost nearly as fast as they are being created.
Even more concerning is this fact: Since Governor Shumlin took office in January 2011, Vermont’s workforce has shrunk by an astounding 8,700 Vermont workers.
In the Department of Labor’s own statement on the updated statistics, Annie M. Noonan, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor accurately stated that job losses at several companies in Vermont were being offset by job creation in a few of Vermont’s larger companies.
This is no way to grow good jobs and prosperity for Vermont’s families or expand small business opportunities.
Altogether, these are not signs of a thriving state economy that is poised to support more and better paying jobs and expanded opportunities for Vermonters.
The continuing and politically motivated denial of these facts -- and of our economic crisis -- by Governor Shumlin and the unbalanced Democrat supermajority in the legislature makes the problem worse, not better.
Since his inauguration in January 2011, neither Governor Shumlin nor the Democrats in the legislature have offered any comprehensive economic development plan, or a plan to address Vermont’s crisis of affordability.
Instead, Governor Shumlin continues to promote the overly simplified misleading statistic of Vermont’s unemployment rate.
Vermont Republicans are listening to Vermonters and we hear their deep concerns about our state’s economy, the security of their jobs and the costs that Montpelier keeps piling onto working families.
This summer, Vermont’s Republican candidates will offer voters a positive, optimistic vision for our future paired with a detailed economic development plan for our state that will create jobs, provide economic security for Vermonters and address our crisis of affordability.
This is the type of leadership that Vermonters deserve and demand.
It’s time for a change.
David Sunderland is the chair of the Vermont Republican Party.