A bit of good news late last week: Vermont’s unemployment rate went down a tick in December, and stands at 5.1%, well below the national rate of 7.8%. State Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan called it “a strong ending to 2012,” and noted that private-sector jobs were up by almost 4,000 for the year. While acknowledging that economic recovery has been “slower than [in] prior recessions,” she concluded: “We are optimistic that economic growth will continue in Vermont as businesses and job seekers gain confidence. ”
So, good news. And it really is. But there is more to the story, as pointed out by those killjoys at the Public Assets Institute in a report entitled “More payroll jobs, yes. Economic security, not so much.”
To begin with, PAI noted that although the private sector did, indeed, create thousands of new jobs in 2012, “3,200 fewer Vermonters, including the self-employed, were working at year’s end.”
Private sector jobs up, total workforce down. Which means, presumably, fewer jobs in the public sector, in addition to setbacks for the self-employed. And then there’s this:
It will take another 18 months or more for Vermont to recover all the jobs it lost in the Great Recession. That’s according to a December forecast from the New England Economic Partnership (NEEP). Vermont shed approximately 13,000 non-farm payroll jobs from December 2007 to July 2009 and has regained more than two-thirds of them. The rest won’t return until the second half of 2014, says Jeffrey Carr, state economist and Vermont’s NEEP representative.
“It will take another 18 months or more…to recover all the jobs it lost in the Great Recession.”
If anyone in GMD-land ever wonders why I’m so mean to Bruce Lisman, there’s why.
After the jump: a reminder of Lisman’s skewed vision, and food insecurity hits six figures.
Lisman’s group, Campaign for Vermont, claims to be all about growing the economy and creating “more jobs than there are people.” Lisman claims to know the way to a golden age of prosperity. But it was his Wall Street buddies that put America in a hole so goddamn deep that it will take almost a decade to crawl our way out.
And lest you think Lisman learned anything from the financial world’s implosion, I shall remind you of this line from a 2010 speech in South Burlington:
This thing that happened to us in ’08 and ’09 was not the ordinary garden-variety recession. It was a Darwinian asteroid that hit us.
“This thing” that somehow just “happened,” this “asteroid” that fell from the sky. Wasn’t anybody’s fault, just one of those “things” that “happened.” Somehow I doubt that Bruce has learned any lessons from 2008.
So yeah, when I read that it’ll take another four years, at least, for Vermont’s economy to recover, then I think, unsoundly, of former Wall Street titan Bruce Lisman.
Finally, one more fact from PAI that illustrates the ongoing cost of 2008’s Wall Street Follies:
In November, participants in 3SquaresVT-Vermont’s name for the food stamp program-exceeded 100,000 for the first time.
There’s a milestone nobody wanted to see. It means that nearly one-sixth of Vermont residents live in households that can’t stock the pantry on their own. And, PAI notes, it means that…
…policymakers can’t just look at the number of jobs to see how Vermonters are doing. They need to focus on the quality of those jobs-including wages-and ensure that public services are adequately funded.