Vermont’s labor market is improving, if at a creeping pace

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NEWPORT — According to the Public Assets Institute the number of Vermonters looking for work has risen by nearly 470 since June, and the number of people working has fallen for three straight months.

Overall, joblessness has stayed extraordinarily low, reaching its lowest point on record, 7,246 people in June.

The unemployment rate was 2.1 percent from May through August, edging up to 2.2 percent in September and October, with Vermont setting records with the lowest rate in the country.

Vermont employers have added more than 22,000 jobs per year after the recession, but recent annual job losses have almost equaled gains.

Even with more jobs in the private sector than before the recession, Vermont’s growth amounts to less than 2,000 jobs per year.

The net change in total businesses represents a small share of the approximately 2,000 businesses that open and close each year.

Net losses tend to occur during economic downturns, while net gains occur during recovery periods, and Vermont has added businesses for three years in a row.

Startups were responsible for about 30 percent of new jobs and represented around 30 percent of businesses in the 12-month period ending last March.