9-8-15 – A Tale of Two States

By Chris Campion

Vermonters, let’s face facts:  New Hampshire is an upside-down Vermont.  Or, maybe more accurately, Vermont is the upside-down state,

and New Hampshire has been right-side up all along, but Vermont’s politicians never seem to have noticed.  As it turns out, there’s some data to back this New England economic inversion up.

First, let’s take a look at the two states side-by-side, in terms of Median Household Income and the Unemployment Rate.  While both Vermont and New Hampshire enjoy (“enjoy” being a relative word here) a low unemployment rate, there’s just a slight difference of note regarding incomes:

Vermont strong! Um, except for incomes.


Now let’s take a look at New Hampshire:

Hmmm. How is this state not like the other?

So, if an enterprising young individual was looking to choose a state to live in, and had NH and Vermont to choose from, which state do you think would be more appealing?  A $15,000 difference in median household income might be a deciding factor, no?  Does Peter Shumlin tout New Hampshire’s low unemployment rate and higher incomes than Vermonters, since he’s always talking up Vermont’s low unemployment number?

Speaking of incomes, you can only spend what you take home.  If given a choice, would you want to live in a state with a higher aggregate tax bite, or a lower one?

state local tax burden vermont

And how is New Hampshire so different?  Take a look at a the ranking column:

When it's better to be in the bottom 10 than the top 10.

Now let’s talk the size of the labor force.  One state has an increasing labor force, while one sad, desolate state’s labor force is consistently decreasing.  10 bucks to the first person who can guess which state is suffering from labor force shrinkage.  Go on, guess.  I double-dog dare you.  I perhaps might even triple-dog dare you.

First, let’s look at Vermont:

Hey, those are great trendlines.


New Hampshire:

Decreasing unemployment rate and an increasing labor force. This is not Vermont.


In short, New Hampshire has higher incomes, lower tax rates, a similar unemployment rate, an increasing labor force, and an ongoing uptrend in incomes versus Vermont’s stagnating income. If given a choice, which state would youchoose?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tom C September 9, 2015 at 9:28 pm

I would challenge the unemployment numbers. Perhaps they are only coming down as unemployed have given up looking for work and live off of social welfare.
From my view in the NEK, my guess that TRUE unemployment for able bodied adults is 5 X those shown . Can we get some number based on the number of people paying state income tax / total population.. Does the state publish this?
As i walk the streets of St. J. I see many young adults on the streets all day long … no jobs here.. Industry has all but left NEK a long time ago… property values lag most every other area…no one moving into apartments here unless that have entitlements. The number of people on drug addiction maintenance has nealry doubled in the past few years here and is still growing as the NEK presents an easy target for drug sales from southern states.. A once beautiful town in the NEK destined to be the ghetto of the NEK


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