Electronics and Technology Industry
The state of Vermont’s general industry relies heavily on manufacturing consumer goods, of which electronics is a huge component. Although the state is small, much of it’s industry relies on electronics manufacturing, primarily in Greater Burlington. Burlington is the state’s most populous metropolitan area, home to over 200,000 residents, and thus plays a pivotal role in Vermont’s economics.
The largest employer in the state of Vermont is the electronics and computer giant IBM. This company owns and operates a data processing facility in the suburb of Essex Junction, which opened in 1958 with around 500 workers. Eleven years later, in 1969, the plant expanded its facilities from the original 40,000 square feet to over 800,000 square feet. Currently, there are well over 5,000 workers. The facility averages around $100 million in profit revenue each year, and is responsible for approximately $1 billion of the state’s annual economy.
There are a number of other electronics and technology-related companies located in Vermont. In Essex Junction, the company Huber & Suhner, Inc., operates a facility with around $30 million in annual revenue. Huber & Suhner manufactures multiple types of electronics, primarily parts for microwave ovens but also coaxial components and cables. The company employs less than 1,000 workers.
General Dynamics Armament & Technical Products and 89 North are located in Burlington. General Dynamics works with the U.S. Department of Defense, while 89 North is focused on biomedical technology. In the state, there are a number of other companies and facilities that produce electronics and technology, such as aircraft and aerospace components, wind turbines, solar panels and more.
Other aspects of the electronics and technology industry play a large part in Vermont’s economy, as well. In 2007, Vermont was ranked the best state in the country for energy-efficient construction and housing by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program. Altogether, the information and manufacturing sectors accounted for 14 percent of the state’s per capita gross product in 2010.
Although Vermont is home to several large companies, the state economy has been sluggish in the last few years, primarily due to nationwide economic woes. Technology and tourism are the state’s largest economic draws, both of which have taken a hit across the U.S. The May 2010 unemployment rate for Vermont was around 6 percent, while the costs of living and doing business are some of the highest in the nation.