When COVID-19 suddenly put nearly 100,000 Vermonters out of work, many were already in economically poor shape. Nearly $5 billion in federal assistance to Vermonters definitely helped weather the pandemic, so far. But more is needed, now and in the future. The state needs to invest in the public good—child care, education, housing, and other essentials—to secure the long-term economic well-being of Vermonters.
This story, reflecting the challenges of Vermont’s top-heavy economy and the exacerbating effects of the pandemic, is laid out in State of Working Vermont 2020, Vermont’s economy expanded, but too many Vermonters haven’t seen the benefits of this growth. Wages increased, but more for high-wage workers than for those earning less. Child poverty hit its lowest point in 16 years, but remained at nearly 10 percent. Inequality grew: Half of all 2019 income in the state went to the top 20 percent of Vermonters.
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