What Are The Biggest Industries In Vermont?

Maple syrup production in a Vermont factory.
Maple syrup production in a Vermont factory.

Vermont is the second least populous American state that is situated in the New England region. It is the sixth-smallest U.S. state, which occupies an area of about 9,616 sq miles. Vermont is surrounded by Quebec, New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Vermont was ranked as the safest state in the country from 2016 to 2018. The region was occupied by indigenous people like the Mohawk and Abenaki until the seventeenth century when the French colonists claimed it as part of New France. The French ceded the territory to the United Kingdom after they were defeated in the 7-Years War in 1763. The Vermont Republic was established by settlers from New Hampshire during the American Revolutionary War. Vermont was the first state to abolish slavery. Vermont became the fourteenth state to gain statehood in 1791. It is one of the 4 American states that were initially independent states. 

Economy Of Vermont

Vermont had the second-smallest economy in the country in 2017 with a GDP of $19.3 billion, while its per-capita GDP ($51,600) was ranked thirty-fourth. Forbes ranked this state as the forty-second best U.S. state for business in 2015. The 21,174 employer establishments in Vermont provided over 262,705 jobs in 2016. The state had an unemployment rate of about 2.3% in November 2019, representing the 7,806 jobless individuals. Vermont’s biggest foreign partners are Canada and Taiwan. Vermont had $4 billion worth of trade with Quebec.

The salaries in Vermont are somewhat lower than the nation’s average. Vermont’s median household-income was $45,692 from 2002-2004. The state’s median wages in 2008 was $15.31 per hour or $31,845 annually. Over 80% of the people who qualified for food stamps got them in 2007. Over 15.2% of the residents of Vermont received food stamps in 2011. 91,000 senior citizens received an annual income of $14,000 from Social-Security, which accounted for 59% of the average senior citizen’s salary in 2011.   

The Biggest Industries In Vermont


Even though farming has been surpassed by tourism and manufacturing, agriculture is still an important sector of Vermont’s economy. The number of farms in Vermont reduced by 33% from 1950 to 2000. Agriculture contributed about 2.2% of Vermont’s GDP in 2000. More than 3% of the labor force in the state was engaged in agriculture in 2000. According to the Pew-Research Center, the farms in Vermont had employed about 5,000 illegal immigrants in 2017. Nursery and greenhouse products are the leading agricultural commodities from this state. Other crops planted here include sweet corn, apples, maple products, and hay. Vermont is the top maple-syrup producer in the country.

The leading source of agricultural income in this state is dairy farming. During the second half of the twentieth century, some developers had planned to constructs houses in the open land in Vermont. The state government responded by introducing a series of laws that controlled development in the region, thus saving the dairy industry. However, the number of dairy farms still reduced from 11,206 in 1947 to 1,500farms (2003. Since then the total number of farms has been declining by 10% per annum. Even though the number of dairy cows has reduced, milk production in Vermont has doubled. Vermont supplies over 10.5$ of dairy products in the United States. Other important agricultural commodities are pigs, turkeys, chicken eggs, and calves, and beef cattle.


Forestry contributed about 9% of the total manufacturing output and 1% of Vermont’s GDP in 2013. Windham had the highest number of kilns for drying timber east of River Mississippi. The decline of farms in the state resulted in the regrowth of forests in Vermont. Currently, a considerable percentage of the forests in this state are secondary. Various NGOs and the government are encouraging forest management and regrowth. Currently, over 78% of Vermont is forested as compared to 37% forest during the 1880s. Vermont harvested over 73,054 million cubic feet of timber in 2013. A huge percentage of the lumber harvested in Vermont is exported to overseas.


Tourism is one of the most crucial industries in Vermont, which earned Vermont $274million in taxes in 2011. Tourism also supports over 7.2% of the total jobs in the state (26,000jobs). In 2005, the tourists made over 13.4million trips and spent $1,57billion. The hotels, resorts, and shops in Vermont are designed to attract visitors. Some of the summer camps that contributed to the state’s tourism were camp Hochelaga, camp Dudley, camp Billings, and camp Abenaki. Some of the biggest ski regions in New England are situated in Vermont. Snowboarders and skiers visit Bolton Valley and Killington-Ski Resort among other during summer. Some of the activities tourists enjoy in Vermont include ice fishing, lake fishing, trout fishing, and hiking the long trails. Hunting in Vermont in autumn is controlled for moose, deer, wild turkey, and black bear. Hunting of migratory birds in 2012 was limited to between October 12 and December 16.


Several of the manufacturing firms in Vermont reflect national trends. The number of Springfield’s machine-tool companies contract and expand along with the country’s economy. The textile plants were once the leading employers in various cities in Vermont like Winooski, but they have moved to other states. Some computer companies have set up shop in Vermont while several Vermont firms have become branches of other national companies. Most of the industries in this state are small firms that produce specialized commodities. Paper and wood products are natural for any heavily forested American state. Over 33.3% of the manufacturing plants here make furniture, hockey sticks, paper, and bowls. The biggest private employer in 2015 was GlobalFoundries, which has employed over 3,000 people in its factory in Chittenden County.


Extractive companies contribute significantly to the economy of Vermont. Barre and Rutland towns are the traditional centers of granite and marble carving and quarrying in the country. The first American marble quarry was on the Aeolus Mountain. The granite sector attracted several stonecutters from Ireland, Scotland, and Italy during the nineteenth century. The Rock-of-Ages quarry, (the largest granite quarry in the United States) is found in Barre. The Rock-of-Ages quarry is ranked among the leading exporters of granite in the United States. 


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