Business

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Bleak. Troubled. Struggling. Take the phrase “North Country economy”, and you’ll almost inevitably hear one of those adjectives attached to it.

And to a certain extent, it’s true; the northern New Hampshire economy has had a difficult run since the bottom fell out of the mill economy. But can a handful of downbeat adjectives really characterize a whole region’s economy?

Anyone who’s been in this state in late July has seen  the traffic pattern – the long line of cars and trucks with boats or kayaks or bikes on the back, heading north on the highway to New Hampshire’s Lakes Region.  Some folks are heading toward campgrounds or b&b’s; some others are heading toward their own vacation homes, which in the Lakes Region can be pretty substantial.

Getting By, Getting Ahead Voices of the New Hampshire Economy Interactive

Jul 16, 2012
Amanda Loder / StateImpact NH

View the interactive on the StateImpact NH website.

It may not always feel this way, but New Hampshire’s economy is doing better than almost anywhere in the U.S. The state’s 5 percent unemployment rate is lower than all but five other states. However, some parts of the state are doing better than others.  NHPR’s Amanda Loder interviewed people across the state’s seven regions to get a sense of what New Hampshire’s economic recovery looks like in 2012. Listen to voices of New Hampshire's economy and share your story in an interactive audio experience.

Catch up on the series Getting By, Getting Ahead.

Daquella Manera / <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/">Flickr</a>

A roundup of the top-ten most-read stories on nhpr.org and StateImpact - NH website.

"Socially Responsible", its a catchword used by many businesses these days whether they want to promote their environmental friendliness, political awareness or by the way they treat their employees.  "We talk to the author of a new book who says there are many issues to consider when deeming a business socially responsible, both for the consumer and for the companies themselves. In some cases, there are uncomfortable tradeoffs, it’s nearly impossible to fulfill every ideal. And then there’s making a profit still a necessity, even if you’re eco-friendly.

Guest

Amanda Loder / StateImpact NH

As part of StateImpact NH's weekly “Getting By, Getting Ahead” series, Amanda Loder is travelling across New Hampshire, gathering personal stories from the people behind the economy.  In part three, we visit a biotech start-up in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region. You can find all series stories on the StateImpact NH website.

(Photo by mcdlttx via Flickr Creative Commons)

News last month that trading losses at JP Morgan chase may be much larger than previously reported – possibly topping nine billion dollars. The number provides ammo for advocates of more stringent financial regulations… and for 99 percenters, proof that  corporate greed is running amok…and running the system. A number of progressive, socially responsible corporations are seeking designation as b-corps – or benefit corporations. Several states have already legislated incentives for B-Corps.

Every part of New Hampshire has been affected by the ups and downs of the economy, but not every region has felt the effects in the same way. That’s been especially true in New Hampshire's Upper Valley – when home prices were dropping and jobs were scarce, Upper Valley communities and employers managed to hold on… for a while, anyway.

Keith Shields, NHPR

One of the buzzwords we hear around the economy these days is “certainty” – that if we all had a better idea of what the economy was going to throw our way, we’d be better able to prepare for it.

Amanda Loder / NHPR

In this seven week series, NHPR’s StateImpact reporter Amanda Loder explores how N.H. residents feel about the state’s economy and the role state government should play in economic recovery.

Listen to series reports on-air Tuesday mornings through August 14, and any time online at StateImpact NH

Series stories

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Once upon a time, Laconia Bike Week was a rowdy affair with a lot of drinking and wild behavior.

Volunteers across the state will begin monitoring rivers for the invasive species, Didymo. 

 

The New Hampshire Rivers Council is launching a new program to train volunteers to report early signs of the cold-water-loving single-celled algae, known as rock snot.

The council’s Michele Tremblay says Didymo is now moving into the state’s rivers and streams.

Mortgage Update

May 8, 2012

Bank of America is offering about 200,000 homeowners a chance to wipe out a big chunk of their mortgage debt. The offers are part of the settlement Bank of America and other major banks reached with state and federal regulators earlier this year, and it's one of the biggest principal forgiveness opportunities so far.

photo: Dan Gorenstein / NHPR

When you hear ‘trailer park’ lots of people often think tornadoes, or…trailer trash.

Other than that, mobile home parks are ignored, really...just invisible. But actually millions of Americans live in these communities nationwide. Where most people see little of value, the Concord-based ROC USA sees hope for the American dream.

As the clock winds down on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka: “The Stimulus Package”), it remains a controversial–and highly politicized–initiative.  This week, Grant Bosse of the conservative/libertarian New Hampshire Watchdog* project

The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on a GOP measure to cut taxes on small businesses.

Now, the mental image most of us have of a small business is probably something like this: a handful of employees, a shop, maybe a restaurant or a little tech firm.

It turns out the reality of the nation's 28 million small businesses is, in many cases, quite different.

House Republicans say their tax cut would help millions of small businesses.

NH House Mulls Deregulating Phone Service

Apr 18, 2012

Fairpoint’s struggles since taking over Verizon’s northern New England land line network in 2007 have been well-documented in the media with

More than a decade ago, the New Hampshire legislature partially deregulated its electricity market.  The move was supposed to allow residential customers the chance to buy power from companies other than Public Service of New Hampshire, which dominates the state’s electricity market.  But for a long time, nothing really happened.

The House is scheduled to vote this week on a small-business tax cut bill offered up by Republicans. It's just the latest piece of legislation to focus on small businesses, which are widely praised in the political discourse as engines of job creation. The adoration is nearly universal — and it reflects something beyond economic reality.

"Small businesses create 2 out of every 3 jobs in this economy, so our recovery depends on them," President Obama said in 2012 at a New Jersey sandwich shop where he met with small-business owners.

It's beginning to feel frothy in Silicon Valley. Here are a few numbers:

To people not directly involved in fixing, analyzing, or monitoring the Eurozone crisis, it can take on the character of black magic.  And it’s easy to think that the dark arts of the European Central Bank’s low-interest lending initiatives, national bond auctions, and bailout talk have little bearing on our daily lives.

In fact, they very much matter.

The recession brought widespread unemployment across the U.S., but it also prompted a spike in the number of freelance or independent workers.

More than 30 percent of the nation's workers now work on their own, and the research firm IDC projects the number of nontraditional office workers — telecommuters, freelancers and contractors — will reach 1.3 billion worldwide by 2015.

For more, see our video, Inside The Matzo Factory, and see Adam Davdson's latest NYT Magazine column

The matzo business may be the most heavily regulated business in the world.

(Photo by Kenn Wilson via Flickr Creative Commons)

Think about the workplace perks that keep you a contented employee. Maybe there's free coffee in the kitchen, or, perhaps, your pooch is allowed to wander among the cubicles. 

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, eager to get an education under the new post-Sept. 11 GI Bill.

Many vets looking for a school find they are inundated by sales pitches from institutions hungry for their government benefits. Now, lawmakers are looking for ways to protect vets without narrowing their education choices.

The first in a 3-part series airing this week on Morning Edition.

When Facebook goes public later this spring, its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, will be following in the footsteps of a long line of Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs that includes Steve Jobs and Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin. But there was a time when the idea of an engineer or scientist starting his or her own company was rare.

(Photo by emdot via Flickr Creative Commons)

Management consultants are often ridiculed for using words like “bandwidth,” “capacity,” and “low-hanging fruit.” When Word of Mouth noticed a consultant tweeting as @PeopleSense following our Twitter account, we thought…hmmmm…nice alternative to “out of the box thinking.

Fast Company’s annual list of the world’s 50 Most Innovative Companies included many of the usual suspects: Apple, Facebook and Google all made the list.

When you think of cutting-edge technology, power tools don't generally come to mind. Take the table saw: Many woodworkers are using 30-year-old saws in their wood shops and, among the major tool companies, there hasn't been much innovation since those decades-old tools came out.

But more and more inventors are trying to make these saws safer — and David Butler is one of them. At his home in Cape Cod, Mass., Butler flips on the fluorescent lights in his basement turned wood shop.

The rising cost of oil isn't just a hit to the family budget. Businesses are hurt, too. Few are more affected than firms like FedEx. It deploys nearly 700 planes and tens of thousands of trucks and vans every day to deliver packages around the world. And few business leaders are more focused on finding alternatives to petroleum-based fuels than FedEx CEO Fred Smith.

Shortly after Smith founded Federal Express, the 1973 Arab oil embargo almost killed it. The experience imprinted Smith with a keen interest in the price and availability of oil.

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