The N.H. Economic News Roundup: Private Passenger Rail, City Zoning, & The New Millennial Commission

Oct 10, 2017

Boston commuter cities like Nashua are jumping on the chance to develop a private passenger rail, after years of unsuccessful campaigning for a public rail system. New Hampshire's zoning ordinances and city planning processes are drawing criticism for their contribution to the current over-priced housing market. And millennials get their own commission to help the state appeal to a younger population. 


GUESTS:

Highlights: State Revenues, Wages, & Housing.

On state revenues. 

BRIAN GOTTLOB: I'm really interested in seeing what happens with New Hampshire's employment numbers, which will be reported next week. There really has been a slowdown in hiring in New Hampshire in most of 2017. And another very important trend to watch is a slowing of state revenues, a pretty significant slowing of state revenues, with one exception: rooms and meals taxes have held up very well. 

 On wages. 

RUSS THIBEAULT: Unemployment is low nationally and here in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is adding 12,000 to 14,000 thousand jobs a year. But the lagging thing is wages and that's disappointing. If you look at the stock market and you go back to maybe 2007, 2008 the Dow Jones was at 6,000 almost 7,000. Now it's 22,000. It's tripled. Wages have been growing at about two or three percent a year. So investors are being rewarded in this economy but workers aren't. 

 On housing.  

 JEFF FEINGOLD: We have a housing market that's stagnant in terms of getting the inventory out there, in terms of number of houses for sale. And also we have had almost like a cap on the number of rental housing units.  We're talking about average rents, including Coos County and Sullivan County, of over $1200 a month, and in places like Portsmouth it's much higher than that.  There's a notable lack of homes for sale in the lower price range, which is preventing people from moving from a rental to a house.  And because of that prices are higher. And that's also preventing people from getting into a starter home. So what we're seeing is a continued trend; it's been going on for a couple of years now. or even longer. And this is really becoming an impediment to further growth in New Hampshire  also to attracting more people to come here to to work.  

Related Reading:

Private Passenger Rail 

"The Idea of Private Passenger Rail in N.H. is Unusual, but Not Impossible," by the Concord Monitor. 

"Nashua Mayor: Proposed Commuter Rail Project Win-Win For The City," by NHPR. 

Zoning Ordinances, City Planning Contribute to Stagnant Housing Market:

"Planning, zoning rules faulted for housing woes," by the New Hampshire Business Review. 

Target Raises Minimum Wage:

"In raising its minimum wage to 411, Target aims to retain workers," by Marketplace. 

The New Hampshire Millennial Commission:

"Lacking Voice In Legislature, Millennials Get Official Advisory Council," by NHPR.