A tale of two economies: Vermont missing out on the Trump boom

The opening lines of author Charles Dickens’ 19th-century literary classic “A Tale of Two Cities” sums up the stark differences between 1790s London and Paris: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Dickens might well have been writing about the stark dissimilarities between Vermont’s anemic economy and the Trump national economic boom.

Unlike the positive national job numbers for October, Vermont has hemorrhaged about 800 jobs since June of this year. Being such a lightly populated state, the reported loss is unnerving.

Charles Dickens’ 19th-century literary classic “A Tale of Two Cities” sums up the stark differences between 1790s London and Paris: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Dickens might well have been writing about the stark dissimilarities between Vermont’s anemic economy and the Trump national economic boom.

To illustrate the problem, the bad news came fast and furious during recent months:

• Dozens of employees of GlobalFoundries subsidiary were laid off in Essex Junction

Energizer plant closes in Bennington

Dealer.com says its Vermont presence will grow despite handful of layoffs

Social Sentinel lays off 19 employees

MyWebGrocer layoffs jolt Burlington-area tech sector

• Burlington-area business magazine ceases publication

• Sears to close South Burlington Umall store

Yet the Trump-era economy is booming with strong jobs numbers. For October, nationwide job creation stood at 128,000, topping estimates even with the on-going General Motors auto-workers strike.

“Wages continued to climb in October. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $28.18 last month. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.0 percent,” CNS reported.

Vermont has pockets of growth, mainly in urban centers. A recent commentary by retired University of Vermont economist Art Woolf addressed the disparities within Vermont — for example, why Vermont jobs and better incomes exist in clusters, mostly in Chittenden and Addison counties:

Why the big differences among all these cities and towns, with a (salary) range between $30,000 and $140,000? Some are due to the nature of jobs in the area, some the skill levels of the population — and those two are very much interrelated. … More job opportunities, better education and skill training for workers and a more fertile environment for businesses and entrepreneurs to flourish are all important and widely recognized as such. But they are very hard to design and implement.

Woolf has become one of Vermont’s most visible economic soothsayers, being quoted by Democrats and Republicans alike. He has been known to cite systemic Vermont problems including housing costs, youth flight, the birth rate, poverty and the high cost of education.

In recent comments that earned a “fact check” response from VTDigger, Gov. Phil Scott said that the decision to close the Energizer plant was “an unfortunate example of why those of us in Montpelier need to work together to make Vermont a more affordable place to do business and make sure our policies help businesses thrive rather than creating unique burdens and barriers to growth that make us less competitive with other states.”

Despite VTDigger’s critique of the governor, Rob Roper, president of the Ethan Allen Institute, defended Scott’s remarks in a Nov. 8 commentary.

“Why is it we never hear of businesses closing factories or offices in other states and moving jobs to Vermont? The Tax Foundation recently rated Vermont’s business climate as 44th in the nation, and CNBC rated us 40th. These ratings are not unique. Clearly, we have a problem. Scott was absolutely correct to point it out,” he wrote.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, new jobs records were set in October. A record 158,510,000 Americans are now working, and the national labor force participation rate reached a Trump-era high of 63.3 percent. The unemployment rate for black Americans hit a record low of 5.4 percent.

Lou Varricchio is a freelance reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at lvinvt@gmx.com.

Images courtesy of Public domain and Jeremiah Gurney-Heritage Auction Gallery

14 thoughts on “A tale of two economies: Vermont missing out on the Trump boom

  1. With the only young people in Vermont being grown up
    “Special Needs” children,who are businesses supposed to hire?

    I had a mother bring in her 24 year old son to apply for a job.I asked him if he could read a ruler and he replied no,but he could write his name.
    What use would anyone have for such a labor force?

    • Tell me, Please, that this is a single isolated case!
      It scares the hell out of me that it just might not be.

  2. When the predictable result of a program will be to impede economic growth it is not unreasonable to assume that is the goal of the program or is at least considered acceptable collateral damage. It is reasonable in analyzing the generation of such programs and to ascertain who will derive economic benefit from them with particular attention to the politicians promoting them. Political backing of programs promoted by the AGW religion are prime examples: The promoters get rich, government’s control expands and John Q. Public pays the price.

  3. Just think…..Vermont beat Maine. Maine is 50th. Two “Where to never even think to start or keep a business” locations.

  4. Perhaps this is a wake up call for all those feel good, wheel spinning folks in Montpelier. Instead of wasting time on such issues such as same sex marriage, legalization of marijuana, and global warming, they should put their shoulders to the economic wheel and PUSH!!!!

  5. There have been several articles by True North Reports about NH’s booming economy. The limited mindset of the VT’s Government Flatlanders who’s mindset and vision capabilities are so severely limited trying to make a Socialist utopia, they have no credibility, the blind leading the blind. Rep. Maxine Grad, D-Moretown,–the US flag is a banner, etc etc.
    http://truenorthreports.com/statehouse-headliners-4-3-19 (with good comments).

  6. When you have a state ruled by “Resistors” your probably not going to get any benefits of the
    Pres Trump era ’cause they can’t admit he’s doing great things for the country.. Also when your
    leftist government is one of the biggest employers of the state your going in the wrong direction..
    We need less political agenda seekers and more concerned VTer’s in gov.

  7. Donna and Patricia, you are both correct. Vermont is experiencing a dramatic influx of ‘Human Milfoil.’
    Like its aquatic counterpart, Human Milfoil is an invasive species, almost always arriving here from someplace else, where it has usually already spoiled its previous environment. Once Human Milfoil has chosen a place to resettle, it will normally marginalize and displace the native species and will then set about altering its new surroundings to resemble those that it had trashed and left behind. Once in place, Human Milfoil recognizes none of the established traditions or customs, manners or mores, of its new environment or its displaced tenants. Human Milfoil is difficult to live with and almost impossible to eradicate.
    Look around you; see what has changed. All you can do is shake your head and mutter something unprintable. .

    • Mark, You put this into simple comparative words for everyone to understand. Vermont’s problem is the invasive, ego driven, elitist, indoctrinated progressive mindset that has infected this state. Like other invasive infections, the disease will eventually weaken then kill the host. Unlike a boat owner who is requested to wash off his vessel before going to another body of water to remove invasive organisms Vermonters have no remedial action other than the ballot box. The problem is that the infection has taken hold of the host and it is in the process of killing it. We have invasive legislators who have infected the government and like a disease they can’t think or reason their way out of their mission which is ideologically designed to alter the host.

      The voters are comparable to an ineffective antibiotic. While 30% of us try to eradicate the problem, the infection has spread to fast and has reached critical mass. Information is the antidote and it must be produced in the minds of the Vermont voter. The Voters enable the disease to continue either through ignorance, laziness or they agree with the progressive indoctrination. We know the problem but when will the antidote be administered? Many of us older people are slowly dying from financial distress and do not have much time left! .

  8. Around 1965 the population of greater Bennington was around 16,000. The population of the US was around 160 million. Today the population of greater Bennington is still about 16,000, while the population of the US is 330 million. — After 60-70 years of being completely passed by you would think the stuck on stupid people in montpielier would not be in charge anymore. That they are (and its a new generation of them), we can assume the Vermont Brain drain cannot be stopped, and Vermont cannot be saved.

    That thought doesn’t bother any of them, but the reality is 80% of the property in Vermont is owned by 20% of the population — and all if the 20% will die off over the next 20 years, with no one coming to replace them. The tax base is going to collapse, and with it, Vermont will be recognized as the northern extension of Appalachia — after the rest of Appalachia has recovered.

  9. Until Vermont’s attitude towards Business changes, first off like wanting big business and
    then removing stranglehold of regulations and having tax incentives to come here !!

    Vermont’s current mindset will not change under our current legislation powers, so that means
    Vermont will miss out again, just look around what this state used to have for Business and look
    what we have today……….. pretty pathetic, why ??

    Vermont’s current business model, tax & regulate you to death, if you don’t like it go elsewhere
    and they do…………..

    • CHenry: You nailed it! You are absolutely correct! Until Vermont stops spending money on frivolous things and stops taxing everything under the sun, businesses and people will never move here.
      We just have to stop voting for liberals, progressives, and democrats!

      • Patricia, you are right, but the only ones who will move here are the liberals from other states. Our legislators are made up of 95% out of staters. They have no use for Vermonts values. They raise taxes to support their own pet projects. To be honest they want to drive all true Vermonters out of Vt and bring in more of their friends.Just look at the idea of paying people $10,000 to move here but their job is in another state, they just do their jobs over the internet. Our Taxes are paying them to move here. They aren’t starting a business, or hiring emplyees. and once they find out how expensive it is to live here they’ll just take the 10,000 and move away. Yup the legislators have no values nor any sense..

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