Monday, August 10, 2009

Hitting Home: How the Recession is Affecting Vermont

A lot of people were surprised last fall at how swiftly the economy turned. By midwinter, it was clear this was going to be a deep recession that would affect people across the economic spectrum.


VPR News had been telling the story all along. But by the first of the year, it was clear that a larger project was warranted to capture the enormity of the steep decline. And so we organized a series of stories that examined the situation through personal stories.


We found factory workers, farmers, retirees, shopkeepers, auto dealers, a homeless family, and the experts who were trying to help them. It pretty quickly became clear that there was a common theme among all of the stories: The economic downturn was hitting home for all of them. That seemed to sum up the series for us, and so we dubbed our ongoing stories “Hitting Home.”


Here we are six months later and there’s a sense that maybe things aren’t as bad as everyone had predicted. So we decided to revisit some of the people we talked to in February and update their stories. We're doing that on Mondays all this month as we continue with our Hitting Home stories.


In coming weeks, we’ll visit the Northeast Kingdom to examine what happens when the largest employer in a region drastically cuts back. We’ll look in on the banking industry to find out whether it can help power an economic recovery. And we’ll even check out the business of weddings for an idea of how a small but lucrative part of the region’s economy is faring.

I hope you'll tune in and share your own stories as well. You can learn more online here.

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