Unemployment in Vermont is very low at 3.5%, and has remained at this level for the past two years. There were 7,000 new jobs created in this area and earnings did go up from last year about 1.8%. Vermont does have a strong tourism economy. The ice cream factory tour of Ben and Jerry's is the most popular tourist attraction in the Green Mountain State. Thousands of people visit the Waterbury Vermont Ben & Jerry's location every month. Cross country skiing is very popular in the winter, and many people come to watch the changing colors of the leaves in the fall. Vermont is the number one maple syrup producer in the country and many visitors come to visit the beautiful sugar maple orchards and apples tree farms which cover the countryside. Some may think that dairy products or maple syrup production might be the states highest employer, but actually IBM is. Remarkably, the state is an important producer of electronic equipment for the company.
Vermont has a very high rate of graduation. Over 86% of students are receiving their diplomas. With only 392 schools money is spent very generously by the state on education. $11,112 is spent annually for each student. After the No Child Left Behind Act was passed, Vermont has implemented many new testing procedures in their schools. The Vermont Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) is administered in second grade. The New Standards Reference Exams (NSRE) in English/language arts and mathematics, is administered in tenth grade, and the NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program) in mathematics, reading and writing assessments were administered for the first time in the fall of 2005 in grades 3-8 (writing in grades 5 and 8 only).