MONTPELIER — For years it was a Vermont truism that the IBM plant in Essex Junction was the state’s largest private employer.
But with little fanfare, the mantle was assumed several years ago by Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.
Still, Internet searches for Vermont’s largest employer return results showing IBM as the leader.
But as the IBM plant has shrunk, Fletcher Allen Health Care has continued to grow.
Fletcher Allen Health Care spokesman Mike Noble said Monday the hospital’s payroll department issues about 7,100 checks every pay period with about 5,500 full-time employees.
IBM no longer publicly releases its employment figures, but spokesman Jeff Couture said the last time the company reported its employment numbers it had about 5,000 people. There has been more than one round of layoffs since then, including one last month.
Couture said he felt that IBM could still claim the top ranking as the state’s largest for-profit employer.
Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan says privacy rules prevent her from saying how many people IBM employs, but when asked if she felt Fletcher Allen was the state’s largest employer she answered, “Yes.”
The state of Vermont is the state’s largest employer, with about 7,800 employees.
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