Contact: David Sunderland, VT Republican Chair
Date: September 19, 2014

Unemployment Rate Rises, Number of Employed Sinks, State Workforce Gets Even Smaller

Montpelier, VT – Vermont’s Department of Labor released the State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment data for August 2014 and the numbers again reflect what Vermonters see and feel — the Shumlin economy is faltering and Vermonters are paying the price for his failed economic policies.

For the third consecutive month, the total number of employed Vermonters dropped and the total number of unemployed Vermonters rose. Today, Vermont’s workforce is an astonishing 9,750 workers smaller than it was when Governor Shumlin took office in January 2011. The August data also shows there are 2,600 fewer Vermonters working today than when Governor Shumlin was first inaugurated.

The state’s unemployment rate rose to 4.1% in August and is now at its highest level of 2014. Most shockingly, if Vermont’s workforce stayed level since the Governor first took office, the small number of working Vermonters today would produce an unemployment rate of 6.9%. That is nearly a full percentage point higher than it was when Governor Shumlin was inaugurated in January of 2011.

With less than two months until the November election, it is clear that Governor Shumlin’s strategy is to deny the problem exists and put his best political spin on these sobering economic numbers. By continuing to look at Vermont’s “low” unemployment rate in isolation and misleading Vermonters by ignoring the balance of the economic data, Governor Shumlin does a disservice to those Vermonters who are struggling to find a job and make ends meet for themselves and their families.

By continuing to deny there is a problem, the Shumlin administration also precludes itself from taking the necessary bold action that Vermonters want and deserve. There is still no comprehensive statewide economic development plan from Governor Shumlin or the Democrat dominated Legislature, no plans to curb the runaway spending of our state government and no plans to provide any form of tax relief — including property tax relief — for Vermonters. Lacking that bold action, there is little hope for improvement for hurting Vermonters.

Vermont Republicans are listening and seeing the signs of an economy in trouble. We know that Vermonters deserve bold action from their Governor in times of crisis. We are ready — with the support of Vermonters on November 4th — to put in place policies that will remove the obstacles to job creation, reduce the heavy burden of our state’s affordability crisis and grow our economy to provide new and better job opportunities for hardworking Vermonters.

This is the type of bold action that Vermonters want and deserve and it’s what Vermont Republicans offer.

It’s time for a change.