Strategic Advocacy Manager, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Director, Global Employment Policy & Special Initiatives, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Graphic Designer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
September 15, 2023
The state of Vermont has a favorable landscape for businesses and individuals, with a diverse economy and a robust small business ecosystem. Immigrants contribute meaningfully to the state's workforce and economy, while educational attainment, quality of life, and cost of living factors remain promising.
The Worker Shortage Across America
Explore the interactive map below to see the impact of the worker shortage crisis in each state.
The Chamber’s Worker Shortage Index ratio indicates the number of available workers for every job opening. A ratio above 1.0 indicates a surplus of available workers compared to job openings.
Vermont’s Labor Market
Prior to the pandemic, Vermont’s labor market was stable. The state only had 58 workers for every 100 open jobs. However, Vermont’s workers were being hired into more jobs than leaving them. The state's unemployment rate was far lower than the national figure at 3.5%, and its labor force participation rate was marginally higher than the national rate of 63.4%.
Vermont’s current labor market has not yet recovered. The state’s worker shortage lags far behind both its pre-pandemic levels and the nation’s current average. Further, Vermont’s labor force participation rate is two full percentage points lower than it was in February 2020.
The hiring rate in Vermont has surpassed the quit rate since September 2021, and the Green Mountain State boasts a notably low unemployment rate. These trends are concerning for employers, who have a surplus of 19,000 job openings among a labor shortage. Vermont is grappling with a large workforce shortage, evident by the fact that there are only 44 available workers for every 100 open job positions in the state.
Vermont’s Business Environment
Vermont's business environment is marked by tourism and home to a handful of iconic American brands. The state is a popular tourist destination, bolstering the state’s numerous retail and wholesale trade businesses which employ 30,000 people.
Most Vermonters work in the professional and business services industry, as well as government, with construction employment being relatively minimal. Vermont’s employment landscape consists of prominent cyber-security and broadband firms, in addition to multiple companies offering media and software services.
Vermont is home to a thriving small business ecosystem, with 99% of all Vermont businesses falling into this category. Nearly two-thirds of Utah's workforce work within small businesses. Within this dynamic landscape, women own half 41.8% of small businesses, 2.4% are minority-owned, 1.2% are owned by Hispanics, and 7.5% are veteran-owned.
Vermont’s Educational Attainment
Over a quarter of Vermont’s population has obtained their high school diploma or its equivalent, keeping up with the U.S. average of 26.1% in 2022. 24.5% of the population has attained a bachelor's degree, while over 19% have secured a graduate degree, both above the national averages.
Less than half of Vermont high school graduates stay in the state to attend college where the average in-state tuition is $17,083. Out-of-state tuition in the Green Mountain state is $41,057, significantly more expensive than the national average out-of-state tuition of $28,000. Roughly 40,000 students are enrolled in a Vermont college for the 2022-2023 school year. These students supply a rich talent pool from which local employers can recruit talent.
Quality of Life
Vermont’s median household income is relatively volatile, but its current median income of $72,190 puts it on par with the national average of $70,000, ranking 33rd in the country. Vermont has a graduated tax rate system, ranging from 3.35% to 8.75%, which places the state among those with some of the highest tax rates.
Vermont has a graduated tax rate system, ranging from 3.35% to 8.75%, which places the state among those with some of the highest tax rates.
Around 34% of Vermont workers are remote workers. For those commuting into an office, the average commute time is 23 minutes. The Council for Community and Economic Research measures states’ costs of living compared to the national average of 100. Vermont’s cost of living index falls at 114.9 meaning the state more expensive in comparison to the national cost of living. The median rent settles at $999, while the median home cost is $383,882, slightly higher than the national average. 72% of the population owned their housing unit in 2021. The state experienced a low growth rate of .65% from 2020 to 2022.
In the U.S., immigrants tend to be of working age in comparison to native-born individuals. Consequently, they are more actively engaged in the labor force, playing a dual role as both consumers and taxpayers, contributing to help fund programs like Medicare and Social Security.
Looking at Vermont in particular, immigrants comprise 4.4% of the state's population, totaling 27,165 individuals. Their collective spending power amounts to $754.7 million, while their tax contributions reach $294.8 million.