State of Working Vermont 2017

How are Vermont’s workers and their families doing?

Economic growth is tepid, but even the modest gains are not making it to most Vermonters’ paychecks. While the share of families struggling financially might not be as large as elsewhere, it continues to creep up. And while the unemployment rate is low, fewer people are working.

In other words, Vermonters are doing about as well, or as poorly, as they’ve done for more than a decade.

Why no progress? Part of the reason is that many policymakers are thinking backwards. They hope that when and if the economy improves, wages and tax receipts will rise, the state will be able to meet its residents’ needs, and Vermont’s prosperity will be more broadly shared. The data in this report suggest otherwise. To get the trend lines moving in the right direction, we need to flip our thinking—to start with the premise that addressing the needs of all workers and families is the way to strengthen the economy.