Welcome to the Vermont Economic Dashboard. The Vermont Futures Project uses a six-pillar system to track the data on the Economic Dashboard annually. Each pillar measures a different area of economic growth with multiple data sets. The Vermont Futures Project has also set growth targets for each pillar to measure the progress toward economic vitality.
- 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.
- Overall, Vermont’s economy is stagnant with little change which continues to be a growing concern.
- Compared nationally, Vermont’s economy is lagging like many rural states in what is broadly a slow growth trend as states recover from the recession.
- The evidence that there are two Vermont’s persists. While Chittenden County is leading the state in terms of job creation, it’s not robust. Additionally, the concentration of growth in this area and the lack of growth in other regions, is concerning for the state economy.
- While GDP per capita has grown slightly, our national rank has dropped a bit.
- Mid-sized firms continue to see anemic growth at .2% over the previous year.
- The job creation rate is down for the third straight year… three points below the rate five years ago.
- Vermont is still strong in startups and new firm survival, but other states are also doing well as entrepreneurship efforts increase nationally.
- There is no new data on R&D intensity which has declined as of last year.
- No new data has been published on the number of high-tech related firms which have remained constant since 2012. This is a crucial area because it is both important to Vermont’s self-identity and important as a source of future small-business growth and STEM/High-tech growth.
Workforce & Talent
- This pillar continues to be a drag on economic growth. While the number of 25-44 year olds is up over the last two years, it is still lower than it was in 2000.
- At the same time labor force participation is about the same as last year, signaling we need to do a better job of getting this age cohort into the workforce.
- While the job mix numbers were not updated this year, we didn’t see substantial improvement previously, meaning the demand for workers remain mostly at the low and mid-levels.
- Unemployment is still very low signaling a tight labor market, which continues to impede economic growth as employers cannot hire for open positions or growth opportunities.
- The Vermont demographic profile is still negative and challenging: we are shrinking and aging.
- Median income is edging up slightly, and our ranking in the U.S. has jumped several positions, making progress toward this target indicator for the Vermont Futures Project.
- While it’s difficult to identify a specific data point for why workforce age people emigrate, there is a perception of less opportunity in Vermont than other places. The Vermont Futures Project has supported the effort to market the assets and opportunities in Vermont to a wider audience.
Quality of Place
- Vermont continues to be a highly recommended place to live for quality of life. The average commute is lower than the national average and the number of acres in farm and forest programs remain strong preserving the landscape and outdoor recreation access.
- While we don’t have new data this year, the 2015 data suggests that renters pay a high percentage of their income on home costs which is a troubling data point.
- This year we saw a sharp rise in the violent crime rate and while Vermont remains the safest state, we now have the highest growth rate in this category. Much of this is due to drug-related activity and property crimes which are challenging our long-held perceptions about our quality of place.
- For these reasons we downgraded the overall health of this pillar.
- We have seen very little change this year.
- Vermont’s bond rating remains strong with elected leaders of both parties committed to ensuring this remains a priority.
- Electricity rates are competitive for New England and yet high for the country, a regional advantage and national disadvantage. We are concerned that the regional advantage is temporary as we have seen recent increases proposed for rate reviews.
- We saw a significant jump in broadband access, moving Vermont closer to the national average. While access does not mean utilization, progress is being made in high-capacity hubs, like Springfield and Chester. The access number is focused on download speeds greater than 3Mbps however over time as more people switch to using wireless internet, we may want to focus on that number.