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Welcome to the Vermont Economic Dashboard.  The Vermont Dashboard is a snapshot of the current economic health of Vermont that provides important metrics to understand and measure progress towards securing Vermont’s future. The Vermont Dashboard’s “key indicators” benchmark Vermont’s economic growth to stimulate conversation, and to prompt action that will achieve measurable, positive outcomes.
  • The Dials and Executive Summary below describe Vermont’s Economy, highlighting key economic Indicators.
  • Each of the dashboard’s Pillars provide more detailed baseline data and can be explored by using the tabs above to navigate.

The dashboard’s Indicators are key data points for tracking Vermont’s economic performance, business climate and quality of life.

Economic Activity

Innovation & Entrepreneurs

Workforce & Talent

Quality of Place

Infrastructure & Investment

Vermont’s Economic performance continues below national average on many key measures, with much of the state’s growth concentrated in Chittenden County.

  • Job creation, while ahead of U.S. average, has produced outside the Burlington region just a few thousand total jobs gained since 2009.
  • Established, large employers provide most of Vermont’s jobs and higher wages. In 2012-2013 growth in mid-sized (20-499 employees) firms regained strength and the number of firms regained pre-recession levels.
  • For over a decade Vermont’s economic growth (GDP and jobs) has been mainly in healthcare, tourism, and government; labor intensive, lower productivity industries.
  • Gains in value-added and knowledge-driven sectors have not fully offset recent export dollar and productivity losses in the manufacturing and utility sectors.

Vermont’s 5-year survival rate for startups rose from 52-54%, but startup rates in Vermont are now average for the U.S. as other states have gained strength.

  • 2014 was Vermont’s best year for venture capital disbursements since 2008.
  • Vermont startups represent diverse sectors, from agriculture to information technologies, construction to the energy sector, helped by a strong talent base, investment, or low barriers to entry.
  • New and established firms innovate and invest to stay competitive; while still a leader among rural states, VT slipped from 17th to 26th in R&D spending.
  • The number of high tech firms has risen over 25% since 2005; 2015 High tech employment rebounded to over 23,000 jobs, 9% of the workforce (vs 11% nationally), providing some of Vermont’s highest wages.
Unemployment in Vermont, long below US average, has been 3-4% since 2014 (vs. 5-6% nationally). This creates a challenging labor market for employers.

  • 2016 saw minor gains in Vermont’s labor force, which has otherwise been shrinking for a decade. In New England VT, RI & ME have declining labor force numbers while the workforce base in NH, CT & MA has grown slightly in the past decade.
  • Signs of workforce shortage effects are visible in the rising number of out-of-state workers and low productivity.
  • Vermont’s workforce is well educated and older, with too few young workers in the pipeline. Historically high workforce participation is now declining, reflecting retirements, population loss and persistent unemployment.
  • 25-44 year-olds are 23.9% of the population, down from 28.9% in 2000. Low birthrates, an aging base, and population gains favoring older cohorts mean that in-migration is needed to reverse population trends.
  • Vermont wages are low nationally, cost of living is high particularly in housing.

Vermont’s median household income is above average and poverty rates well below national levels. Vermont is almost last in terms of population growth.

  • Vermont’s high levels of educational attainment exceed national averages. College degrees are more concentrated in older age cohorts.
  • Median income grew to $59,494, but Vermont fell to 21st in the U.S. as other states grew more.
  • Household income is increasingly from non-wage sources like retirement or social security benefits. Young recipient rates are high compared to U.S. averages.
  • Seasonal homeowners account for 17% of VT households.
  • Over 1/3 of households include someone over 60. Single adults are 30% of households. 25% of households have children under 18, vs. 34% in 2000.
An exceptional combination of assets produces Vermont’s quality of place; natural beauty and outdoor recreation, family farms and small towns, with world class cultural and educational institutions.

  • Vermont is the safest state in terms of violent crime. The state’s healthcare is very highly rated on key measures such as quality, cost, access and outcomes.
  • People entering the housing market see high costs; 27% of home owners with a mortgage and 42% of renters spend over 1/3 of their income for housing costs.
  • Some towns are thriving – as part of a strong regional economy or as locally successful visitor hubs or bedroom communities. Others, bypassed by economic drivers, lack basics for economic growth; water infrastructure, developable land, broadband and workforce housing.
  • Housing starts rose from 1,546 to 1,998 from 2014 to 2015, responding to demand in the Burlington area, particularly for multi-family units.

Vermont’s economy operates within a set of conditions produced by policies of investment to produce quality and performance. High liabilities and low residual tax capacity among residents and businesses reduce the state’s ability to invest in itself.

  • Vermont road quality, improving for the last decade, worsened slightly in 2015.
  • 73% of Vermont commercial and residential customers have access to broadband (availability not activation). State policy emphasizes coverage, versus priority areas for high level of service and economic activity.
  • Electricity rates, low for New England, are 8th highest in the U.S., adding to an affordability problem for some businesses operating in Vermont.
  • Vermont leverages location, from linkage with NY’s technology sector to firms that are part of New England’s globally competitive advanced manufacturing sector. In 2015 over 37% of Vermont exports dollars came from Canada.