Unemployment remains at 3.7 percent

MONTPELIER — Vermont’s seasonably-adjusted unemployment remained level in October at 3.7 percent, the Vermont Department of Labor announced Friday.

October’s unemployment rate matched the revised number from September. The national average in October was 5 percent, according to the department.

The October rate, the eighth-lowest in the country, makes the night consecutive month of unemployment below 4 percent.

Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan noted a sharp drop in the labor force from September to October of more than 2,000 people.

“This month’s numbers are an interesting mix. Many Vermont employers are continuing to grow, with over a thousand jobs added this past month alone; however this growth is not without its challenges. As the unemployment rate has declined, and the number of ‘baby-boomers’ moving towards retirement has increased, the Vermont labor market has tightened,” Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan said in a statement.

She said employers cannot fill available jobs.

“Vermont employers looking to hire continue to report difficulties in recruiting for their vacancies. At this point, we are examining whether this month’s more significant decline in the labor force is an anomaly or underscores a more systemic trend,” Noonan said. “Our approach to a reduced labor force has to be multi-faceted, including greater outreach to students and workers here in Vermont, as well as regionally and nationally, and to significantly increase funding for programs that will train — or retrain — Vermonters for the jobs that match the employers’ openings.”

The October unemployment rates in the state’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 2.5 percent in the Burlington-South Burlington area to 4.9 percent in Derby. Individual labor market numbers are not seasonally-adjusted. The October rate in the Barre-Montpelier market was 3.1 percent, while the Rutland market was 3.6 percent.

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