Amid election-season rhetoric and political spin about jobs, this series of data visualizations documented labor statistics over time and across sectors, with both county-level detail and nationwide context. I conceived and designed the series, wrangled and analyzed the data, and wrote accompanying explanatory stories.
Investors cry foul after Jay Peak owner converts their $500,000 equity stakes into unsecured IOUs.
Vermont’s official unemployment rate may be approaching pre-recessionary lows, but when part-time and other marginally attached workers are factored in, the rate has been slower to budge.
Visually compare not just the official unemployment rates, but all six measures of unemployment in Vermont and around the country with three interactive graphics.
1348 words / VTDigger.org
If IBM were to sell its computer chip-making unit to California-based Globalfoundries — patents and all, as the company is widely rumored to be considering — would the new owner of Vermont’s largest manufacturing plant even want to keep it?
Probably not, according to Len Jelinek, a semiconductor manufacturing industry analyst for the global information firm IHS.
IBM is Vermont’s largest private employer, with about 4,000 workers, and anxiety about the impact of the plant’s sale and potential closure is palpable.
Despite these feverish efforts to keep IBM in the Green Mountain State, there is little the state can do to prevent a potential closure of the plant. Global trends are driving behind-the-scenes negotiations between powerful industry players.
Job losses of IBM’s magnitude are easier to absorb over time, economist Art Woof acknowledged. Still, he said, the area’s financial engine is diversified and resilient enough that even such a “worst case scenario” would not kill the economy.
A new report on the health of Vermont’s children shows that 40 percent of the state’s children were deemed “not ready” for kindergarten in 2012-13. Almost one-third of third-graders read below grade level — a figure that jumps to 45 percent for children living in poverty.
“Any business leader that does not think this is a huge business issue, candidly, they just haven’t done their homework,” Green Mountain Power president and CEO Mary Powell said.
December brought good news and bad news for Vermont’s jobs picture: The unemployment rate dropped again, but so did the labor force.
3332 words / VTDigger.org
Ariel Quiros is the entrepreneurial force behind Jay Peak ski resort and the $600 million Northeast Kingdom Economic Development Initiative – one of the largest development projects ever attempted in Vermont.
Though the project is high profile, Quiros is not. The international tycoon, though sometimes seen, is seldom heard.
The first generation American stands out at press conferences for his mystique: When he’s not got the ear of the governor, Quiros is most often seen standing uncomfortably before a crowd with pursed lips, staring silently and expressionless, at nothing in particular, through ice blue eyes.
Quiros quietly presides over an integrated set of projects that together constitute the largest private investment Vermont has ever seen: expansions at Jay Peak, development of the newly renamed Q Burke Mountain ski area, the mixed use Renaissance Block planned for downtown Newport, the future site of a biotech firm in the same town, and the promise of a new and improved Newport State Airport in Coventry.
“I make the vision,” he says quietly, a touch of gravel in his voice after 20-plus years of smoking.
3310 words / VTDigger.org
It’s the day before Q Burke Mountain opens for the winter, and Ary Quiros could just as well be preparing for battle as for business.
The new CEO is opening the ski resort for the first time since he started at the mountain the previous winter, and he’s amped. If Quiros, 36, can turn this chronically failing but beloved ski area into a stable business, he will succeed where prior, much wealthier, owners have failed.
The arc of history and local expectations give him long odds. But Quiros — and his staff — are determined.
Wearing a weathered, Army green jacket and frequently checking a watch face practically the size of his wrist, Quiros shuttles from one outpost of operations to another to check on his troops: snowmaking, ticket sales, kitchen, pub and cafeteria. Finances. Marketing. Housecleaning.
“It’s like being in the Army again,” Quiros says.
930 words / VTDigger.org
Despite conceding that Vermont will miss his target of statewide broadband and cellular coverage before year’s end, Gov. Shumlin Wednesday gathered top telecommunications executives to celebrate how far they’ve come.
3041 words / VTDigger.org
Beverly Grout suspects a neighbor may have told the loggers that she and her husband Fred would be in the market to sell some timber.
She said the loggers, Ken Bacon Jr. and Ken Bacon Sr., knocked on the door of their home on a hill overlooking Barre back in June. Within days, the Grouts signed a contract.
“We didn’t realize who they were,” she said.
Left with 20 acres of damaged forestland and a blocked stream in Barre Town the Grouts wish they had known more about the Bacons’ track record.