The Vermont Economy

VPR's Steve Zind

VPR senior reporter Steve Zind focuses on the Vermont economy and its impact on our lives. Follow Steve Zind on Twitter, post comments on the stories, and let Steve know what local economy stories you think VPR should cover.

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The Frequency
1:11 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Corren, Sorrell Take On Gasoline Price Gap

Dean Corren, right, explained a graph showing the gap between Burlington gas prices and the statewide average.
Taylor Dobbs VPR

Dean Corren, Lieutenant Governor candidate for both the Progressive and Democratic parties, joined Attorney General Bill Sorrell for a campaign stop at a gas station in Burlington Monday morning, but they weren’t filling up.

The pair were hoping to bring attention to the discrepancy in gas prices between northwestern Vermont and other areas of the state, like Rutland. In photos taken Sunday, a gas station in Rutland showed a price of $3.39 for regular while a Burlington station was charging $3.58 – a 19 cent difference.

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VPR News
7:46 am
Mon September 15, 2014

With 'Beetcoin,' Slow Money Aims For A Fast Start In Vermont

A young cow eyes the camera at a dairy in East Montpelier on Sept. 4. Slow Money Vermont, which aims to connect investors with small food businesses, launches next week.
Wilson Ring AP

On Tuesday, the Slow Money Vermont network will launch in Montpelier.

The concept of Slow Money was pioneered by Woody Tasch, the author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered.

Slow Money is groups of people collaborating to invest in small food businesses near where they live.

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VPR News
5:53 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Concerned About Strike Risks, FairPoint Union Pursues Other Options

Union leadership is concerned FairPoint would react differently than its predecessors in the event of a strike
VPR/Steve Zind

Contract talks between union employees and FairPoint Communications have been on hold since the company declared an impasse two weeks ago.

Union officials say a strike is possible, but they’re concerned about the risks and the effectiveness of striking. For the moment, they’re exploring other options.  

It could take weeks for the National Labor Relations Board to consider unfair labor practice claims by the union and decide whether FairPoint was justified in declaring an impasse in negotiations. 

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VPR News
5:48 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Hospital Budget Growth Is Low Again This Year

For the second year in a row, the projected budget growth for Vermont’s 14 hospitals is well under recent trends.  

While the growth in budgets varies from hospital to hospital, the Green Mountain Care Board has given its approval to an overall statewide increase of 3.1 percent. Last year, the growth rate was 2.7 percent.

Green Mountain Care Board chairman Al Gobeille says the growth in hospital budgets over the past two years is less than half of what it was between 2008 and 2012.

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VPR News
2:52 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Where Have The Prime-Age Workers Gone?

Vermont job growth by age group
Vermont Dept. of Labor

Unlike a mathematical equation, where a calculation leads to a single correct answer, economic numbers don’t always point to clear answers.

The accompanying chart from the Vermont Dept. of Labor shows the state's job growth by age group from September 2011 to March of this year.* 

One striking feature is the only age group that saw an increase in jobs over the period is workers 54 and older. 

Even more striking: Prime-age workers, ages 25 to 54, actually saw a decline.

As is often the case, Vermont trends mirror national trends. 

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VPR News
5:00 am
Thu September 11, 2014

For Some Vermonters, A Lack Of Knowledge Is The Barrier To Getting Online

Patty Haupt is learning computer skills in order to improve her job prospects.
Steve Zind VPR

Much has been made of Vermont’s efforts to extend broadband service to every resident.

But the service isn’t much good unless it’s used, and despite nearly universal broadband coverage, a significant number of Vermonters lack the digital skills to take advantage of it.

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VPR News
5:53 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Fall Classes, Fall Harvest: Program Supplies Local Food To Burlington College Students

Bobby Young of Intervale Food Hub prepares a delivery for UVM students
Steve Zind VPR

For students attending three Burlington area colleges, picking up a basketful of locally grown vegetables is an easy stopover on the way to class, thanks to a four-year-old program created by the Intervale Food Hub.

  Connecting local food producers with local consumers is a big part of what the food hub does.

Vegetables, fruit, dairy products, baked goods and meats from about 45 Vermont producers come into the hub to supply a year-round program for local residents who sign up for weekly deliveries.  

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VPR News
6:18 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Vermont Center For The Deaf And Hard Of Hearing To Close

The Austine School, Vermont's only school for the deaf, will close permanently.
Susan Keese VPR

The Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing plans to close by the end of September. The center’s trustees made the decision at an emergency meeting late last week, citing ongoing financial problems as the cause.

The center provides a wide range of services for the deaf and hard of hearing. It’s headquartered on the sprawling campus of the Austine School in Brattleboro. The 100-year-old residential school has been under the center’s umbrella since 1998.

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VPR News
6:10 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Lebanon College Students Lament Closure, Look For Options

Lebanon College stands empty in the heart of the downtown mall.
Charlotte Albright VPR

As the fall college term gets underway, some Upper Valley students are finding themselves in limbo. That’s because they had enrolled in New Hampshire’s Lebanon College, only to find out without warning that their school was closing.

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VPR News
6:06 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Tech Workers Say State Jobs Website Is Lacking

A new jobs website launched in June as part of a larger economic development plan to draw more workers to the state, but some think the website is flawed.
ktsimage Thinkstock

State officials have said they want to attract more skilled workers to the state and keep more Vermont grads here. To that end, officials often point to a new jobs website created earlier this summer.

But not everyone thinks the site is useful.

The website Great Jobs in Vermont launched in June as part of a larger economic development plan to draw more workers to the state.

When it launched, Gov. Peter Shumlin and other state officials said the goal was to bring more awareness to Vermont-based companies and job openings.

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