Vermont’s top economists say the state’s economy is showing resiliency. They gave their revenue outlook to Vermont’s Emergency Board yesterday. The panel is made up of the governor and top lawmakers on money committees. The consensus is that after roughly four years of pandemic-induced turbulence, Vermont’s economy finally seems poised to make a softer landing than initially expected. Despite uncertainties surrounding high interest rates, economists recommend modest overall changes in state revenues in light of the economy’s resilient performance, impressive progress in bringing down inflation, and historically low levels of unemployment in both U.S. and state labor markets. The economists say expected revenues available to the general fund will be up $29.3 million for fiscal year 2024. This, in contrast to last year when the economists forecasted a 9% percent decrease in the state’s general fund, is the largest decrease in 25 years. Total state revenues overall across the first half of fiscal year 2024 also showed resiliency against the backdrop of July’s catastrophic flooding, finishing the month of December at 1.8% ahead of expectations. Going forward, lawmakers say investments in broadband, housing, and workforce development will be critical, but say there is little sign that the tight labor market conditions will ease significantly, unless off-set through significant labor force growth though population immigration or coaxing some of the early retirees that surged during the pandemic to re-enter the labor force.
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