Vermont’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December dipped 0.1 percent from the prior month to 5.1 percent, the state Department of Labor announced Friday.
The national unemployment rate for December was 7.8 percent.
“The Vermont economy had a strong ending to 2012,” Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan said in a statement. “The preliminary estimate of the annual 2012 unemployment rate is 5 percent, more than a full half of a percent lower than 2011.”
Noonan said the state gained 3,000 jobs last year.
She went on to say that while the “economic recovery, nationally and on the state level, has been slower than prior recessions,” the 2012 data point to improvement on the jobs front.
“We are optimistic that economic growth will continue in Vermont as businesses and job seekers gain confidence,” she said.
The nonpartisan Public Assets Institute in Montpelier noted that according to New England Economic Partnership, a nonprofit, regional forecaster, it will take at least another 18 months for Vermont to recover all the jobs lost in the Great Recession.
The state shed approximately 13,000 nonfarm jobs from December 2007 to July 2009, recovering more than two thirds of them. The rest won’t return until the second half of 2014, said Jeffrey Carr, state economist and Vermont’s NEEP representative.
December unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 3.1 percent in Warren-Waitsfield to 6.8 percent in Newport (local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted).
The Rutland area unemployment rate fell 0.2 percent to 5.7 percent, Barre-Montpelier increased 0.4 percent to 4.8 percent, Bennington increased 0.2 percent to 5.8 percent, Bradford increased 0.8 percent to 5.6 percent, Brattleboro fell 0.2 percent to 4.8 percent, Burlington-South Burlington increased 0.1 percent to 3.8 percent, Hartford increased 0.1 percent to 3.2 percent, Manchester fell 0.3 percent to 5.2 percent, Middlebury increased 0.2 percent to 4.6 percent, Morristown-Stowe increased 0.1 percent to 5.2 percent, Newport increased 0.7 percent to 6.8 percent, Randolph fell 0.2 percent to 4.7 percent, Springfield dropped 0.5 percent to 5.7 percent, St. Johnsbury increased 0.4 percent to 5.9 percent, Swanton-Enosburg fell 0.1 percent to 5.4 percent, Warren-Waitsfield fell 0.7 percent to 3.1 percent, and Woodstock fell 0.1 percent to 3.4 percent.
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