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.

The Upper Valley Business & Education Partnership makes connections between schools and their wider communities. Tyler Mansfield and Jim Madden met through the Partnership’s “Everybody Wins!” reading mentoring program.

JIM: I’ve always loved to read so it was really just sort of a natural fit to share my love of reading with the students. I guess we both discovered we kind of liked mysteries.

A former executive at the center of the meltdown of brokerage firm MF Global appeared before Congress on Wednesday to answer questions from lawmakers. Members of the House Financial Services Committee were hoping assistant treasurer Edith O'Brien would explain the actions of the firm's CEO, ex-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.

You may have heard of "flash mobs," where a mass of people invade a public space to make a scene. Now the idea has been turned on its head by "cash mobs," where large crowds of consumers show up at small businesses to spend money. But it's not just about propping up the local economy.

It's 5 o'clock on a Friday, and mostly quiet in the Lander's Men's Store, a mom-and-pop clothing store in Jamestown, N.Y. But shop owner Ann Powers is anticipating a mob.

LLC Filing Overhaul Passes Senate

Mar 28, 2012

A bill overhauling the way numerous businesses file with the state has passed the Senate by a wide margin.  The AP reports SB 203 passed on a 22–2 voice vote:

“It includes provisions for electronic communication, conflicts of interest and provides an

easier path for corporations to move to New Hampshire. Supporters say this will

bring New Hampshire up to speed with its neighbors.

Dollar General Pushing For More Granite State Stores

Mar 28, 2012

Discount chain retailers have historically faced resistance in New Hampshire.  But as Kathleen Callahan reports for the New Hampshire Business Review, that’s not stopping Dollar General from drawing up ambitious expansion plans:

Executive Council Mulls Massive Medicaid Contract

Mar 27, 2012

The Executive Council is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a new Medicaid contract worth an estimated $2.2 billion–believed to be the largest contract in state history.

But signs from an Executive Council meeting Monday suggest that vote may be pushed back.  And the state may struggle to meet its July 1 deadline.

It’s a huge contract financially, handing over several billion dollars to three managed care companies to run the state’s Medicaid program.  And it’s huge for the some 140,000 New Hampshire residents who rely on Medicaid.

Best Buy must live in fear of shoppers like Ave Lising. He and a group of friends walk through the Stanford mall in Palo Alto, Calif., their cellphones clutched in their hands.

Lising visited the electronics retailer recently, shopping for a video game.

"I went to Best Buy [and] looked at the price," Lising says. "I was like, 'Ehh — I'm sure I can find this cheaper online.' "

So he whipped out his smartphone and scanned the barcode, found it cheaper and ... no sale for Best Buy.

There's a word for that kind of in-store comparison shopping: "showrooming."

100 Jobs To Return To NH From China

Mar 27, 2012

A New England-based manufacturer is moving some of its operations from China to New Hampshire–and bringing 100 new jobs with it.  Watts Water Technologies is building up its facilities in Franklin.  As

Photo by Hapal via Flickr Creative Commons

Late last week, an investigative report from Reuters’ Enterprise Team uncovered the details of a big money contract between the Chinese telecommunications equipment company ZTE and the Telecommunication Company of Iran that included technology that can be used to conduct surveillance and crack down on dissidents. The details of the deal revealed surprising end-runs being made by Iran around global sanctions.