Armed with charts and graphs, two economists brought a message to southern Vermont: You are not alone……
Speaking at the inaugural Southern Vermont Economic Development Summit on May 24, the experts said this region’s struggles — including a decline in the working-age population and the lack of job growth compared to more urbanized areas — are shared by many other rural communities across the nation.
“You’re fighting not a local trend … you’re fighting a national trend, and in many ways a worldwide trend. Rural areas are struggling,” said Kevin Stapleton, a senior economist with the Vermont Department of Labor.
But that knowledge is small comfort for officials in Windham and Bennington counties, who convened the summit to solidify their economic development partnership and discuss ways to bolster the region’s financial fortunes.