Innkeepers are a busy bunch. To save you time, VLA attends Governor Scott’s Covid-19 press conferences and takes notes for you. Below is the summary from 4/26/22.

Governor Scott held today’s press conference at “Vermont’s Largest Job Fair,” held at the Champlain Valley Expo. The time was spent focused on the need to expand the labor force and related infrastructure including housing.

The Governor introduced Matthew Barewicz, Labor economist and Director of Economic and Labor Market Information, who gave a presentation on demographics and workforce showing the trends affecting the state’s workforce shortage. We have an aging population and school enrollment is down. We are losing workers as they retire, the prime-age workforce is aging, and the upcoming workforce population is not going to meet the need.

  • economic data compiled consistent with how other states’ data is compiled
  • 2010-2020 prediction was that population would be stable
    • have actually seen a decline in labor force of more than 17k from peak during this period
    • population in 8 counties is down 10% and 6 counties down 15%
  • some slight growth in population yet a decline in labor force and prime age workforce declined and aging workforce growing
  • youth labor force (16-19) has dropped, was around 60% now under 40% – and there are fewer Vermont youth
  • without action we will see this trend continue; every policy consideration should consider how will this help our workforce and we have to prioritize things that will
  • all sectors are showing need for workers, but especially the trades and with that the importance of implementing infrastructure plans to support growth
  • we need to get the budget right to make most of this moment and not use one-time money for bandaid programs
  • 2020 census not yet in modeling
  • Workforce decline of approx. 26k; many not returning to market for reason including early retirement (est. 13k)
  • Willing and able to work/accept job are considered workforce; have seen 7% pull-back last two years
  • Click here to view the full data presentation.

Comm. Harrington:

  • today’s job fair covers many sectors; great participation but only a small representation of businesses throughout the state
  • “workforce gap cannot be filled with Vermont’s current population alone.”
  • need to prioritize transformational areas – schools, communities, broadband, housing, make VT affordable for relocating and new businesses
  • Vermont’s situation is not unique, we are competing with other areas; DOL active role in connecting employers with employees’ training apprenticeship programs
  • record high job openings
  • hire-to-quit ratio is at 3:2

Sec. Hurley:

  • workforce needs housing and healthy supportive communities and there is a need for diverse array of programs––create economic growth with investments in our downtowns and relocation programs should be setting up networks now
  • roughly 26k jobs available; under 3k on unemployment; need people to come to the state

Questions: (questioners – poor audio quality)

  • On child-care tax relief:
    • good to see some tax relief; admin tax package was much broader, helped more people; House help about 10%; ours about 25% of population
  • On jobs and housing:
    • law enforcement employment; need affordable housing
    • new graduates have employment opportunities but no decent affordable housing
    • requires multi-faceted look; infrastructure housing most important
    • bring retirees back into workforce; creative solutions – flexible schedule, part-time work
    • decline in school population equates to decline in workforce
    • 16-19 yr. olds are busy and not having time for work
    • invest in career and technical education
    • promote state’s positive attractions to draw new people and businesses
  • On pension:
    • Scott: left it with task force to study the pension situation and disappointed administration was not brought into the conversation; the bill was introduced on 3/8 and Scott sent a letter to the legislature on 3/9 hoping his ideas would be incorporated
    • there was no specific modeling in real impact of 401(k) option; why not study this approach and come back with concrete research and data?
      • Scott: need to fix the problem now; what’s the harm about putting this in place; it would only be a change for new employees and they would have options
  • Capital for a day will be reinstituted after legislative session