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Report: Pandemic taking toll on Vermont economy, workforce

Published: Dec. 28, 2020 at 3:06 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - A new report shows the toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on Vermont’s economy and its workforce.

The “State of the Working Vermont 2020” report published by the Public Assets Institute shows the pandemic affected the jobs and wallets of Vermonters differently. The report says half of all 2019 income in Vermont went to the top 20% of Vermonters. And the coronavirus pandemic has only widened that gap as businesses hit hardest by public health restrictions frequently employ low-wage earners.

Though the state will get some help from the newest relief package from Congress, the authors of the study worry those benefits won’t be enough to help all Vermonters.

“It’s better if these things are condition-based and not time-based. It hard to know if that’s enough because we don’t know where we’ll be in March. Obviously, the vaccine is rolling out. Obviously, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel but it’s a long process,” said Stephanie Yu of the Public Assets Institute.

Over $5 billion in federal funding helped keep Vermont’s economy afloat during the pandemic through loans, grants and unemployment benefits.

The Public Assets Institute also says this report should be a wake-up call for decision-makers to invest more in housing and child care.

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