State of Working Vermont 2018

Ten years after the start of the Great Recession and more than eight years after it officially ended, there are signs of recovery in Vermont. The economy has continued to grow, if more slowly than the rest of the country. Yet whatever growth or prosperity the state has achieved, many have not benefited from it. Average Vermonters still struggle to make ends meet.

The economy is improving, but not for most Vermonters: For the past 13 years State of Working Vermont has told the same story. But the narrative can change—policymakers can change it. The economic indicators selected here highlight the areas where Montpelier can focus attention and resources to improve the well-being of all the people of Vermont.

It’s not as though Vermont’s political leaders haven’t seen the indicators or are unaware of the problems the state faces. But administrations of both parties have been reluctant to acknowledge the need for more revenue, and postponing critical investments—for instance, in early care and education, affordable housing, and clean water—has become the norm. Employers have not been asked to share the responsibility to create a fairer economy. Not enough jobs pay wages that can support a family, yet when the Legislature voted this year to increase the minimum wage, the governor vetoed the bill.