Vt. business leaders brace for hoped economic ‘soft landing’

The Vermont Economic Conference was held in Burlington Monday.
The Vermont Economic Conference was held in Burlington Monday.(WCAX)
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 4:41 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont business leaders are keeping a close eye on the economy in the coming year.

The Vermont Economic Conference Monday brought trade groups, business leaders, and state officials to the University of Vermont to get a sense of the challenges facing the local and global economy, and to network.

The Federal Reserve is poised this week to raise its benchmark interest rate for an eighth time since March. But the Fed will likely announce a smaller hike for a second straight time

And while the Fed’s campaign to conquer high inflation is far from over, top Vermont economists say it’s possible the U.S. will be able to avoid a recession and widespread layoffs.

“I think it’s going to be different because we are going through such fundamental shifts as it relates to labor demand and technology. And I think those two things could make a recipe for a soft landing,” said Mathew Barewicz, a labor economist with the state of Vermont.

Vermont remains in a tight labor market with the unemployment rate at 2.6% and there are currently 20,000 open jobs.

Monday’s conference was sponsored by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.