N.H.'s Unemployment Rate Drops to Lowest Level Since 2000

Apr 12, 2016

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate fell to 2.6 percent in March – one of the lowest rates in the country, and the lowest for the state since 2000. But that may actually be bad news for employers.

Gov. Maggie Hassan applauded the state’s low unemployment rate Tuesday, saying it shows New Hampshire’s economy is continuing to move in the right direction.  

But Brian Gottlob, a New Hampshire-based economist, says this drop comes with a caveat: It makes it tougher for businesses to find new workers.

“We are really approaching full employment and it is going to be very difficult for employers to not increase wages," Gottlob said. "I think they have been able to do that for some time because of the excess, the slack, in the labor market, that is no longer the case."

Gottlob says with a shortage of people looking for jobs – businesses might also be forced to look to other states to fill positions. 

In February, Hassan launched the Gateway to Work Program, which aims to address the state's shortage of skilled workers by using existing federal and state money to provide job training across the state.