Go Figure

by Jack Tenney, Publisher Business People-Vermont

Photos: Jeff Clarke

Here’s a little test to determine your aptitude for economics.

In the 10 years from 1987 to 1997 an analysis of the employment statistics from five Greater Burlington communities suggests that average wages grew at twice the rate of employment. 61,676 people earned an average wage of $21,240 in 1987. 75,202 people earned an average wage of $30,761 in 1997.

So here’s the test.

The answer to each question will be either Burlington, Colchester, Essex, South Burlington or Williston. (The answers are listed at the bottom of this page.)

  1. Which city or town had the fewest employeds in 1997?
  2. Which city or town was the only other one to exceed by 1997 the average wage earned in Essex in 1987 besides Essex?
  3. Which city or town reported a decline in employeds in 1997 compared to 1987?
  4. Which city or town had a lower percentage increase in average wages than Essex?
  5. Which city or town had the largest percentage increase in average wages?
  6. Which city or town accounted for the largest number of new employeds?
  7. Which city or town reports an average wage of $40,554 in 1997?
  8. Which city or town has not been used in answer to these questions?

Since so many readers of this publication are “flat-landers” (a name some Vermont residents use when referring to non-Vermont residents) here’re some hints.

IBM is the largest private employer in the state and is located in Essex Junction, which was considered for statistical purposes, Essex.

Williston has had a lot of development in the past 10 years with big box stores and bank administration facilities being built no doubt drawing jobs out of downtown Burlington.

Burlington has also experienced significant job losses in connection with the former General Electric armament plant currently General Dynamics Armament Systems.

Colchester more than doubled its employeds during the 10-year period but finished last in overall size in 1997 although it had 70 percent more employeds than Williston, which was the smallest employeds number in 1987.

South Burlington overtook Essex for numbers of employeds in the 10 year period but ended up with the smallest average wage of the five although still higher than the overall Vermont average as well as the U.S. average.


  1. Colchester
  2. Burlington
  3. Burlington
  4. Williston
  5. Colchester
  6. Williston
  7. Essex
  8. South Burlington