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Vermont Business Round Table/EPR Third Quarter Business Conditions Survey Released (Sept. 2019))


Lisa Ventriss, President of Vermont Business Roundtable (VBR) and Jeffrey Carr, President, Economic & Policy Resources (EPR), announced the Q3 of 2019 outlook results of their joint initiative, the VBR/EPR Business Conditions Survey and Index. The latest survey, which was conducted during July of 2019, achieved a response rate of 63 percent overall.

Two-thirds of respondents shared negative outlooks specifically with ease of hiring for available positions (67%); a slight shift toward neutral from the previous survey (76%) and is reflective of the chronic demographic-workforce growth challenges in Vermont; A majority of respondents expressed a neutral outlook about the state’s overall business climate (54% Neutral, 22% Negative); a slight shift toward negative outlook of the previous survey (62% Neutral, 14% Negative). When asked, “Are you more or less optimistic about the general business climate in your sector compared to three months ago?”...overall the responses were largely neutral or negative. The Accommodation and Food Service sector expressed the most optimism (29%), while the Manufacturing sector had the most pessimistic outlook (75%).

The survey is attached as a pdf below.  The next survey will be conducted in October 2019.


Secretary of Administration Susanne Young Releases Vermont's Revenue Results for August 2019 (Sept. 2019)


On September 20, 2019, Administration Secretary Susanne Young released revenue results for the State of Vermont for the month of August and the first two months of the 2020 State Fiscal Year.   According to Secretary Young, “General Fund receipts were below the consensus cash flow target for the month, while Transportation and Education Fund revenues were above target.  Year to date, which is over the first two months of fiscal year 2020, General Fund revenues remain above target, and in total, the three funds are above their combined expectations."  Secretary Young then noted; ”This early in the fiscal year, it is premature to draw any conclusions about full-year performance.”

Click the pdf below to download Secretary Young’s entire press release with the comprehensive State revenue receipts data.


BLS Releases August 2019 Consumer Price Index (Sept. 2019)


The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.3 percent in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.7 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Increases in the indexes for shelter and medical care were the major factors in the seasonally adjusted all items monthly increase, outweighing a decline in the energy index. The energy index fell 1.9 percent in August as the gasoline index declined 3.5 percent. The food index was unchanged for the third month in a row.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in August, the same increase as in June and July. Along with the indexes for medical care and shelter, the indexes for recreation, used cars and trucks, and airline fares were among the indexes that increased in August. The indexes for new vehicles and household furnishings and operations declined over the month.

The all items index increased 1.7 percent for the 12 months ending August; the 12-month increase has remained in the range of 1.5 to 2.0 percent since the period ending December 2018. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.4 percent over the last 12 months, its largest 12-month increase since July 2018. The food index rose 1.7 percent over the last year while the energy index declined 4.4 percent.

The full press release can be found via the link below.

Next release is Thursday, October 10, 2019, for the September 2019 Consumer Price Index.


BLS Releases August 2019 Employment Situation (Sept. 2019)


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 130,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment in federal government rose, largely reflecting the hiring of temporary workers for the 2020 Census. Notable job gains also occurred in health care and financial activities, while mining lost jobs.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised down by 15,000 from +193,000 to +178,000, and the change for July was revised down by 5,000 from +164,000 to +159,000. With these revisions, employment gains in June and July combined were 20,000 less than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 156,000 per month over the last 3 months.

In August, employment in federal government increased by 28,000. The gain was mostly due to the

hiring of 25,000 temporary workers to prepare for the 2020 Census. Health care added 24,000 jobs over the month and 392,000 over the past 12 months. In August, employment continued to trend up in ambulatory health care services (+12,000) and in hospitals (+9,000). In August, financial activities employment rose by 15,000, with nearly half of the gain occurring in insurance carriers and related activities (+7,000). Financial activities has added 111,000 jobs over the year. Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in August (+37,000). Within the industry, employment increased by 10,000 both in computer systems design and related services andin management of companies and enterprises. Monthly job gains in professional and business services have averaged 34,000 thus far in 2019, below the average monthly gain of 47,000 in 2018. Social assistance employment continued on an upward trend in August (+13,000). Within the industry, individual and family services added 17,000 jobs. Social assistance has added 100,000 jobs in the last 6 months. Mining employment declined by 6,000 in August, with nearly all of the loss in support activities for mining (-5,000). Retail trade employment changed little in August (-11,000). General merchandise stores lost 15,000 jobs over the month and 80,000 jobs over the year. Building material and garden supply stores added 9,000 jobs over the month. Employment showed little change over the month in construction, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and leisure and hospitality. Job growth in these industries has moderated thus far in 2019 compared with 2018.

 In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 11 cents to

$28.11, following 9-cent gains in both June and July. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2 percent. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 11 cents to $23.59.

The full BLS press release on the August 2019 employment situation can be accessed in the link below:

The next employment situation report for September 2019 is scheduled to be released on Friday, October 4, 2019. 



Gross Domestic Product, Second Quarter 2019 (Second Estimate) Aug. 2019


Real gross domestic product(GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.0 percent in the second quarter of 2019, according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.  In the previous “advance estimate,” the increase in real GDP was 2.1 percent. The revision primarily reflected downward revisions to state and local government spending, exports, private inventory investment, and residential investment that were partly offset by an upward revision to personal consumption expenditures (PCE). Imports which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were unrevised.

The increase in real GDPin the second quarter reflected positive contributions from PCE, federal government spending, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment, exports, residential fixed investment, and nonresidential fixed investment. Imports increased.  The deceleration in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected downturns in inventory investment, exports, and nonresidential fixed investment. These downturns were partly offset by accelerations in PCE and federal government spending.


Client Resources

EPR has complied a list of valuable resources that benefit our clients. Read through our whitepapers and published articles to learn more about how our services can be of help.

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BLS Releases March...

Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 701,000 in March, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the...

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