Campion: Vermont, the hapless blue state

By Chris Campion

Vermont, fresh off the news that the state’s idea of fixing its legacy of opposition to business and economic growth is to pay people to stay there, now has at its disposal other states’ models for economic growth that actually seem to work.

Chris Campion

Chris Campion

And maybe those models correlate to the political leanings of the individual states.  In a recent CNBC article, they built a chart that shows one-year change in employment (in aggregate and by industry), and the Trump vote margin.  In what can only be a surprise to Vermont’s political leadership, states with low or negative Trump margins (meaning they didn’t vote for Trump) tend to show weaker job growth compared to the states that voted for Trump.

Now a host of reasons exist for why and how jobs get created, and correlation does not equal causation, but when you see some consistent patterns, it just might be an indication that something is consistently wrong with the direction Vermont’s been going in, for decades, in terms of its economy.

Overall, Vermont is at the worst part of the 4 quadrants. The voting results are obvious, but the economic gains in total job growth are almost the worst in the country.  Only one or two states have worse economic results, but Vermont is in there, vying for the lead in the worst of the worst.

Vermont leads the way! To an economic backwater.

But if you look at specific industries, Vermont does manage to become the leader.  The last place leader, mind you, but the leader.  To wit:  Manufacturing – Vermont, in dead last.

Best of the worst!

Construction: Nearly the worst.  But don’t worry, Vermont is striving to lead the way in negative job growth in this category!

We’re constructing the worst economy in the country. In that, we’re #1!

But take heart, taxpayers. There’s some good news for Vermonters amidst all the bad.  Government jobs are increasing!

Nowhere to go but up for taxpayer-supported jobs!

And if you’re interested in a high-paying, lucrative career waiting tables or manning chair lifts at the ski resorts, the sky’s the limit!

Vermont almost leads the way in tip-related employment.

This is the type of data that Vermont’s Department of Labor carries, but doesn’t publicize much, other than the unemployment number as a stand-alone. Why?  Because Vermont’s unemployment rate is low, primarily due to Vermont’s decreasing labor participation rate, a rate that’s ticked up a bit in the last year or two. But it went on a steep dive from 2009-2016, which seems to inexplicably coincide with a prior administration’s term.  It’s almost as if incentives were put in place for a specific number of years that encouraged people to drop out of the labor force, and now those incentives are gone.

It may be that the state doesn’t need to pay people to participate in Vermont’s economy.  It could be that, absent the 8-year overhang of higher taxes, a higher regulatory burden, and a demonization of the profit motive, Vermont’s animal spirits rise again.

Now if Vermonters could only keep the politicians from trying to help them, maybe there is a path forward, out of the economic quagmire.

Chris Campion is a business analyst who worked for decades in leading organizations in Vermont. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Public domain and Chris Campion

9 thoughts on “Campion: Vermont, the hapless blue state

  1. Campion,
    A great article.
    Vermonters have been deceived by the mantras of government private partnerships looked up in Burlington, etc, and enacted in Montpelier, and centralized government control, as in healthcare, energy, education.
    A three month shut down would do wonders, because it would require many folks to get along without sucking on the government udder.

  2. Maybe we could come up with the money to send Vermont legislators on trips to China and India where they can personally see how capitalism can transform a society and bring those on the bottom up thereby restoring self respect and reducing the need for government dependency.

  3. Great piece, the left won’t like this data supported article. These selfish, short sighted fools will keep getting elected as long as the folks getting entitlements, the big public education monopoly, enviro wackos, and the indoctrinated sheep outnumber hardworking Vermonters. The left has really ruined Vermont and are causing people to suffer. Vermonts far left….creating solutions that are many times worse than the problems they want to “solve”

  4. The pathetic piece is that if Vermont is such a great state in which to live, why is it necessary to offer $10,000 to come here????? Because Vermont used to be a great place to live and work. Today, live? yes – to work? no.

  5. Those who establish socialism rarely suffer as much as those who support them……but there’s never a shortage of those who believe the mantra of some something for nothing.

  6. The stupidity of Vt’s liberal legislators is exceeded only by that of those who continue to vote them in.
    The correlation between democrats holding office in Vt and our continued financial distress should be obvious to anyone who takes the time to think.

  7. Vermont is the state of my ancestors – the state I grew up in and the state I hoped to live the rest of my life in after returning from traveling the globe for 25 years in the US Navy.
    We’re actively looking to get out in the next year or two. The state is lost and I can only say ‘good riddance’ at this point.

    I hope Vermont and the Socialists who’ve ruined it suffer.

    • The state’s not done yet. Lying on the floor twitching yes. But there are some that believe that higher taxes will improve the situation. I spent many years calling on industries in VT, all of who’s parking lots are now empty. Not reduced, but empty. They’re gone.

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