VERMONT UNEMPLOYMENTMontpelier — The Department of Employment and Training announced Thursday (August 19, 2004)a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.4 percent for Vermont inJuly.The rate was unchanged from the June estimate, which was revised down onetenth of a percentage point. The national unemployment rate fell by onetenth of a point in July to 5.5 percent.Unemployment rates for Vermont’s 13 labor market areas ranged from 1.8percent in Hartford, to 4.7 percent in Springfield. Labor market arearatesare not seasonally adjusted; for comparison, the unadjusted rate forVermont was 3.1 percent.”The Vermont unemployment rate remained unchanged in July following amonthwhen the state had the fifth lowest rate in the country,” said Anne V.Ginevan, Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Training.”Although there was a pause in job growth this month, recent gains show weare on the path to a sustainable expansion.”The total seasonally adjusted job estimate fell by 1,800 in July followingan increase of 700 the prior month. Government education appeared to beresponsible for most of the drop. Traditional layoffs at local schools forsummer vacation produced a surprising decline in the seasonally adjustedjob estimates. Private industry also absorbed some of the loss but it wasdifficult to pinpoint the specific industry responsible. Manufacturingemployment fell slightly but not enough to reflect the large declineimplied for private industry. Four sectors produced modest gains: retailtrade, professional & business services, health care, and leisure &hospitality.The job estimates before seasonal adjustment reflect temporary changesoften experienced in July. The largest decline, more than 9,000 jobs, wasthe result of school closings for the summer. Employment in transportationservices also was affected as school bus companies cut jobs. Vacations forworkers in some manufacturing industries offset hiring in computer andelectrical equipment manufacturing. The summer recreation season producedastrong demand for workers in accommodations and food services. This wasalso evident in retail trade as tourist activity helped to spur seasonalactivity. Construction employment continued to grow as the industry nearedits annual peak.The number of nonfarm jobs was up 0.3 percent compared to last year, aboutthe same growth rate as the previous month.