Business and Economy

NHPR Staff

With re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank stalled in Congress, several New Hampshire companies say they are feeling the impact.  New Hampshire’s two US Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen as well as 2nd District Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster support re-authorization, while 1st District Congressman Frank Guinta has yet to take a position.

File photo

The Hannaford supermarket chain is settling a dispute with the federal Department of Labor with a promise to institute new worker protection standards at two distribution centers.

The labor department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Hannaford for failing to keep distribution centers in Schodack Landing, New York, and South Portland, Maine, free from hazards that can cause disorders of the muscular and skeletal systems. The citation came after inspections in 2013 and 2014.

Paul Goddin via Flickr CC /

The city of Portsmouth has legalized the ride-sharing service Uber.

The Portsmouth Herald reports that the ordinance was passed along with an amendment to delay its implementation by 45 days.

Sheryl Rich-Kern for NHPR

In Nashua, construction workers are completing the nearly two-mile Broad Street Parkway, which connects the F.E. Everett Turnpike at exit 6 to Nashua’s Millyard district.

City officials are touting its potential to develop riverfront property, and breathe new life to Nashua’s downtown. All of this comes at a time when vacant storefronts dot Nashua’s Main Street and a coveted anchor store announced it was leaving by next year.

The New Hampshire chapter of the AFL-CIO is about to get a new president, the first since 1989.

Glenn Brackett, business agent of the IBEW Local 2320, takes over July 1, succeeding Mark MacKenzie after an election challenge was resolved.

In May, MacKenzie was re-elected at a state convention after ballots representing nearly 700 votes were ruled "spoiled;" they were marked with check marks instead of X's, as required by election rules.

Daniel Nguyen

The Anheuser-Busch plant in New Hampshire is planning for an addition to produce canned beer.

The Telegraph of Nashua reports the Merrimack Planning Board has approved construction of a 5,300-square-foot brewing facility and 50,000 square feet in warehouse and packaging buildings.

Canned beer is making a comeback, as new technologies such as polymer linings have allowed beer to be stored longer in cans without acquiring a metallic taste.

Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office has reached an agreement with a rug store owner who has been advertising a going out of business sale since last fall.

Attorney General Joseph Foster said the state entered into an agreement with Menashe Cohen, doing business as Epic Oriental Rugs of Hampton, to resolve allegations that he violated the state's Consumer Protection Act. Cohen published ads until April.

The act prohibits advertising such a sale that lasts for more than 60 days.

Courtesy of Loon Mountain

The owner of 16 major ski resorts including New Hampshire’s Bretton Woods, Loon Mountain and Mount Sunapee is considering leaving the ski industry.

The real estate investment trust CNL Lifestyle Properties says it is still weighing its options, which may include a private buyout or listing the properties as a publicly traded exchange.

The firm owns resorts from Maine to California including Sunday River and Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine, Okemo Mountain in Vermont, Brighton in Utah,  Crested Butte in Colorado and Sierra-at-Tahoe in California..

Ryan Lessard for NHPR

New Hampshire's colleges and universities say their latest report shows that they are major contributors to the state's vibrant economy.

The New Hampshire College and University Council estimates that its 22 public and private nonprofit institutions directly supported 17,800 jobs in fiscal year 2012-13 and generated an estimated economic impact of $5.8 billion.

Presets Heaven via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Employment Security office says the state's unemployment rate for December was 4 percent, down a tenth of a percentage point from November.

In December 2013, the seasonally adjusted rate for New Hampshire was 5.2 percent.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 5.6 percent, down from 5.8 percent in November, and a decrease of 1.1 percentage points from the December 2013 rate.

Members of Congress from Vermont and New Hampshire have called on the Federal Communications Commission to assess the ability of FairPoint Communications to operate emergency communications networks in both states following outages last year.

There was a six-hour outage of Vermont's 911 system in November and a four-hour outage of Portsmouth, New Hampshire 911 services in December.

New Hampshire’s unemployment tax rate will go down by 1 percent in the first quarter of this year, state officials said Tuesday.

The new rate of 3.4 percent is expected to save employers more than $37 million over the next three months.

The lower rate is triggered when the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund maintains a balance of $275 million or more during the previous quarter.

This comes after the rate was lowered in the final quarter of 2014 by point-five percent.

Ella Nilsen / NHPR

The 4 percent discount that Market Basket shoppers enjoyed on most purchases for the past year is coming to an end.

The New England supermarket chain introduced the discount in January in response to high energy costs and cutbacks in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Company officials tell The Boston Globe the plan was always to phase out the discount, which ends on Saturday.

NRCgov / Flickr

When it comes to the economy in this part of New England, ignore the state borders, says Linda Dunlavey. She’s head of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments based in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Not far from where she sits, the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Windham County is about to shut down for a final time. She says she’s paying attention to the overlaps — of the towns she works with, and with nearby towns in Vermont, and Cheshire County, New Hampshire.

Listen to the full story, courtesy New England Public Radio via the New England News Exchange:

Ella Nilsen / NHPR

A tumultuous year for Market Basket is coming to an end with Arthur T. Demoulas formally in charge of the company.

Demoulas and his family announced Friday that they have completed the purchase of the 50.5 percent of the company that was controlled by his cousin. Demoulas offered $1.6 billion in the buyout proposal in August.

Other details of the deal weren't disclosed.

The nearly century-old supermarket chain based in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, has 73 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

Sheryl Rich-Kern for NHPR

The New Hampshire Retail Association expects us all to do more shopping this holiday season.  The group projects a 4.3 percent jump in sales, slightly higher than national forecasts.

In anticipation, New Hampshire retailers, warehouses and delivery services are recruiting temporary workers. And while that bodes well for the job market, not all employers and employees find what they’re looking for.

bytemarks / Flickr Creative Commons

The state’s unemployment rate ticked down to 4.2 percent last month, the lowest it’s been in six years.

Data released today by the state’s employment security office shows the October rate was a slight improvement from September rate, when unemployment was at 4.3 percent.

By comparison, last October’s unemployment rate was 5.2 percent.

Data shows roughly 2,000 more Granite Staters were employed last month compared to September, while the number of unemployed residents decreased by 1,300.

bytemarks / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire’s unemployment tax rate went down by .5 percent at the beginning of the month.

State officials say the new rate is a result of the health of the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund, which ran a balance greater than $250 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2014.

The state’s unemployment compensation law triggers an automatic reduction to the tax rate when the trust fund maintains certain levels.

New Hampshire Employment Security Deputy Commissioner Richard Lavers says that positive trend is expected to continue into next year.

Sheryl Rich-Kern for NHPR

Whole Foods opened its first New Hampshire store in Nashua last month. It plans to add stores in Bedford and Portsmouth by 2016.

It’s an open question whether the Texas-based chain known for high-end natural and organic products can compete with farmers markets on the one hand and with the reopened Market Basket, or the grocers that saw their business grow as the Demoulas family feuded.

Patty Wright, MPBN

It's being billed as the first-ever public-private sponsorship of a race car. Today Gov. Paul LePage announced that the state of Maine will use Fort Kent NASCAR driver Austin Theriault's car as a billboard for the slogan, "Maine is open for business." The sponsorship cost the state $50,000. Some are celebrating the move, while others question whether it will drive business to the state.

J Holt for WNPR

The slow death of the textile industry in the U.S. was underscored last December by the closure of the last operating mill in Connecticut, the historic Warren Mills in Stafford Springs. That same mill is celebrating its re-opening under new owners. 

How does the American Woolen Company expect to buck the trend?

In early 2013, investment banker Jacob Harrison Long bought the American Woolen Company. Once one of the nation’s most recognized textile companies, when Long arrived, it was little more than a trademark.

As you head to work this morning, your workspace sits empty, awaiting your return. Maybe it’s a cubicle, a windowless box, or a corner office with a view of Boston harbor. Whatever it is, that may change soon, in order to not only accommodate but attract a younger workforce.

Roger Wood for NHPR

The chief of the Market Basket supermarket chain says the company's 71 stores have already accomplished a remarkable turnaround thanks to employees who worked day and night to restock shelves left empty by a worker revolt in his support.

Arthur T. Demoulas is back in control after offering more than $1.5 billion to buy shares of the private company from rival relatives who had fired him.

His ouster led to worker walkouts and customer boycotts that brought the chain to a standstill.

Ella Nilsen / NHPR

Market Basket is looking to new customers as well as old as it begins its recovery from a six-week employee walkout and customer boycott.

Store managers of the New England supermarket chain say they are seeing a lot of new faces in the food aisles since the board of directors agreed to sell the company to its ousted leader, Arthur T. Demoulas.

Employees have been working around the clock to restock store shelves. Managers say they expect to be nearly fully stocked this weekend.

How does a deal like the $1.5 billion buyout of Market Basket work? What did it take Arthur T. Demoulas to gain total control of the 71-store supermarket chain from warring relatives? It was complicated — from start to finish.

Unions representing more than 1,700 FairPoint Communications workers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont have delivered another contract proposal to the company in hopes of ending a stalemate.

Pete McLaughlin from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Maine said the proposal submitted Wednesday aimed to reduce operation costs while meeting union members' needs.

The previous proposal submitted on Aug. 14 was rejected by the company.

Market Basket Standoff Hits 40-Day Mark

Aug 27, 2014
Ella Nilsen / NHPR

In several theologies, including the Greek Orthodox faith of the Demoulas family who own Market Basket, 40 days and 40 nights is symbolic for a prolonged period of trial and suffering.

This story originally published by WBUR.

“This is evil,” said Cheri Nolan who is a general manager at Andover’s Indian Ridge Country Club, which Market Basket owns. “They just want to destroy the company. In my opinion, they are evil.”

Market Basket employee Karen Bostwick, of Tewksbury, has filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board, contending current Market Basket management is “violating the right to picket and strike.”

No Deal Yet For Market Basket

Aug 23, 2014
Rebecca Lavoie for NHPR

The family feud that has brought the Market Basket supermarket chain to its knees may be nearing its end.

Ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas has reportedly made a $1.5 billion offer to buy out the part of the company controlled by his rival cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, and his allies on the board.

The board was scheduled to meet Sunday but the meeting was called off due to disagreements over some terms of the sale.

The bitter five-week standoff that has cost thousands of Market Basket workers their jobs and prompted a customer boycott may be drawing to a close.

Ousted Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas submitted a final offer to buy his family’s grocery chain on Friday. The details of the offer have not been made public.

A Market Basket representative says the board is scheduled to meet Sunday or early next week to discuss his final bid.