Vermont jobless rate falls to 2.2%

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Banner Staff

MONTPELIER — Vermont's unemployment rate dipped to 2.2 percent in April, a decrease of one-tenth of a percentage point from March and a new historic low for the state. The figure was 2.6 percent for the Bennington area, a decrease of two-tenths of a percent from March, and 2.7 percent for the Manchester area, an increase on one-tenth of a percentage point.

Lindsay Kurrle, Vermont's labor commissioner, said the state's employers have reported filling a number of jobs, with most activity focused on durable manufacturing, accommodation and food services, and health and social assistance.

Still, she said, there are "many unfilled jobs not represented in the data. The Department is asking all jobseekers, including recent graduates, to learn about the diversity of employment opportunities currently in the state. By filling open positions, Vermont businesses and the Vermont economy can continue to grow."

Matt Harrington, executive director of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce, noted that, while low unemployment rates are generally seen as a sign of economic vitality, a number of local businesses struggling to fill jobs.

"I know of many dining and lodging businesses that are struggling to find the people they need to run the businesses," Harrington said. "Some of our businesses are struggling to open because they can't find help. Other service businesses are still looking for support staff to grow their business."

Harrington said the difficulties posed by the tight labor market point up the need for programs like Stay-to-Stay weekends, which encourage more people to move to the area, and workforce training to give local workers the skills that local businesses need to be economically viable.

The unemployment rate ranged around the state from 1.5 percent in Burlington-South Burlington and White River Junction to 4.8 percent in Derby.

For the nation as a whole, the unemployment rate in April was 3.6 percent.

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