Economy

Flickr/Diana Parkhouse

  New data shows New Hampshire’s housing market picked up momentum in May.

The latest RE/MAX INTEGRA New England Housing Report shows the number of units sold in May 2015 was up 8.3 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Median home prices are up 4.5 percent, and overall housing inventory is up as well.

New Hampshire’s year-to-year sales growth in May was the strongest of any New England state. 

New Hampshire gas prices appear to be stabilizing after climbing in recent weeks. 

  Dan Goodman of Triple A Northern New England says the onset of summer often leads to a rise in gas prices. This month U.S. consumers saw the highest gas prices of the year, reaching an average of $2.80 per gallon.

But he says U.S. production has increased, as has production overseas.

“The world leaders in crude exports – Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations – are increasing oil production to record levels,” he says.

New Hampshire maple syrup producers saw higher yields last winter compared to the previous year.

Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found New Hampshire produced 154,000 gallons of syrup this year, compared to 112,000 in 2014.

Cold weather shortened the maple syrup season by several days in 2015, but yield per tap rose in New Hampshire over the winter.

Syrup production in the northeast totaled 2.96 million gallons, up 7 percent from 2014.

New Hampshire Employment Security

  New Hampshire’s unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent in May, according to the latest monthly report from New Hampshire Employment Security. 

The state has seen solid job growth for most of this year, and May was no exception. But that doesn't necessarily show up in the latest overall jobs number, and economist Annette Nielsen of New Hampshire Employment Security says there’s a reason why. “It’s reflecting that more people were employed in May from April, about 1400 or 1500, but also approximately the same amount have joined the labor force," Nielsen says. 

 The state will release its latest monthly employment figures Tuesday, and New Hampshire economists are hoping for another strong report.

The trend lines for the state's labor market have largely been pointing in the right direction in 2015. The unemployment rate is down to 3.8 percent as of April, while the rate of labor participation has gone up.

Economist Dennis Delay of the New Hampshire Center For Public Policy Studies says New Hampshire is also seeing more job growth in higher-wage industries, like manufacturing, finance or health services.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr / Creative Commons

The unemployment rate is below four percent in New Hampshire and the labor force is growing, but some say our overall economic growth is still falling short. We’ll find out more looking at demographics, trade, the political climate, housing and healthcare.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

  Grants totaling about $750,000 to help small businesses in most of the state have been approved by the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority.

The money will go to seven economic development organizations.

It will be used to help micro-businesses get the technical assistance they need to either start or grow.

Typically a micro business has no more than five employees.

The businesses must have low or moderate-income owners.

Ze-ev Barkan via Flickr CC

New Hampshire will likely become the first state to repeal laws allowing employers to pay workers with disabilities at a rate lower than the minimum wage.

The bill passed this week by the House not only does away with a provision allowing employers to pay people with disabilities below minimum wage in most circumstances, but it also bans so-called sheltered workshops.  That’s when an organization sets up a workplace aimed at people with disabilities.

New Hampshire Employment Security

New data shows New Hampshire’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate held steady at 3.9 percent in March, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been changes in the state’s labor market.

Economist Annette Nielsen with New Hampshire Employment Security says there’s more movement among those with jobs and those seeking them. “When there’s more employment opportunities," Nielsen said, "you see a tendency of more people that have been sitting kind of on the fringes joining back in. And that’s what we’re seeing right now.”

  A Littleton company is putting up a new, 117,000-square foot building.

Tender Corp. says the facility will be finished in about a year and will allow it to consolidate three facilities.

The company makes a wide range of first-aid products ranging from wilderness first-aid kits to After-Bite which is used to treat insect bites.

The company has about 160 employees and an official said some hiring is expected with the new building. It has been in Littleton since 1973.

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.

  A poll shows that New Hampshire residents remain optimistic about the national and state economies, as well as their own financial status.   The findings are based on the latest Business and Industry Association Report on Consumer Confidence, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.   When asked how New Hampshire businesses will do over the next year, 55 percent of residents said they think state businesses will enjoy good times financially. Only 19 percent think they will experience bad times, and 26 percent anticipate mixed conditions.   The phone poll of 509 randomly

Chris Jensen for NHPR

When most people buy skis they turn to a well-known company. Maybe they get a pair of Rossignols or K2s. But big-names are no longer the only option: some two hundred companies – mostly tiny – now make skis in the United States alone.

One of the newest - Sandwich Tech - is run by Katie Mros and Matt Michaud of Littleton.

Like many others who want to live in the North Country they decided to take an innovative idea, hold their breath and try to make a living doing something they love.

A New Normal?: N.H.'s Post-Recession Economy

Jan 14, 2015
Philip Long / Flickr/CC

Although the state has regained all the jobs it lost in the Great Recession, many are said to be part-time or lower paying.   Still, the U.S. economy seems to be on a roll, and optimism appears to be taking hold. We’re looking at who’s faring well and why in the Granite State, and who’s been left behind.

GUESTS:

Poverty Under A Microscope In N.H.

Jan 13, 2015
UK in Hungary / Flickr/CC

Following up on our homelessness show yesterday, we’re looking at the broader issue of poverty in New Hampshire.  While the state has one of the nation’s lowest poverty rates, it doesn’t always do well on certain measures, like childhood poverty. We’re looking at the latest numbers, and some of the efforts to address the issue.

GUESTS:

In just over a week Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is set to close. It means the end of a long-running debate over the plant and nuclear energy in the Green Mountain State, but it could also mean the start of some economic challenges for the area surrounding the plant, including parts of New Hampshire's Monadnock Region.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan touted her economic credentials at a campaign stop at a Manchester marketing company Tuesday. She also fired a few shots at her opponent, Walt Havenstein.

Hassan argued she’s better equipped to help small businesses than rival Walt Havenstein. Internet marketing company Commonplaces was a beneficiary of job training grants. Hassan championed that program and what she terms bipartisan successes like increasing higher ed funding, raising the gas tax and expanding Medicaid.

Commuting To Boston: The Daily Exodus Out Of N.H.

Sep 17, 2014
Bricky Cement / Flickr/CC

More than eighty-thousand Granite Staters travel to the Bay State for work, a fact that’s been cited as both an economic boon and drawback for New Hampshire. While both views could be valid, there are other impacts too: work-life balance and community involvement can take a hit when people spend a long time commuting.

GUESTS:

N.H. Unemployment Rate Unchanged In July

Aug 12, 2014

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate remained unchanged last month, at 4.4 percent.   At the same time last year, it was 5.2 percent.   But the state’s Employment Security office reports the number of Granite Staters in the workforce shrank by 2,550 people from June.  And 310 more people were unemployed.   Nationally, the jobless rate went up slightly, to 6.2 percent.

The Bretton Woods Conference: History And Legacy

Aug 12, 2014
Matthew Simoneau / Flickr/CC

Signed in New Hampshire seventy years ago this summer, the Bretton Woods Agreement established the U.S. dollar as the new standard for global trade. We’ll look at what changes this agreement made to the global trade system, some of the personalities behind it, and its legacy extending to the present day.

GUESTS:

N.H.'s Economy: Back On Track?

Aug 11, 2014
Congressman Frank Guinta / Flickr/CC

Both at the national level and in New Hampshire, several signs suggest the economy is on the mend, with a stronger job market, firmer consumer confidence, and more generous lending among banks.  Still, some experts warn this recovery is incomplete, with troubling factors such as slow wage growth and international turmoil.

GUESTS:

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein says lowering the state’s business profits tax is part of his plan to create 25,000 new jobs by August 2017.

Walt Havenstein says under his plan, reducing the tax from 8.5% to 7.4% would take place over two budget cycles.

The former BAE CEO acknowledged it would cost the state $50 million in revenue in the first biennium, but says no spending cuts would be needed.

“Even at our meager, meager anemic growth rate, our growth rate will offset that particular reduction.”

MMBOB / Flickr Creative Commons

Upon first glance, the numbers look good, the U.S. jobless rate now sits at 6.6%, a full 1.6% better than last year. But dig deeper into those numbers and you find a different story: currently 4 million Americans have been out of work for more than half a year, and in New Hampshire that makes up nearly 32% of the jobless. But now, the stress of long-term unemployment is being felt even more as the extensions usually given after 6  months were dropped in December leaving 1,300 in New Hampshire and nearly 2 million nationwide without benefits.

In her State of the State address today, Governor Maggie Hassan called on state lawmakers to restore and increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage.

The state Legislature in 2011 eliminated the state minimum wage and defaulted to the federal wage of $7.25 an hour.

Senator Lou D’Allesandro, a Manchester Democrat, agrees the minimum wage should be raised, but knows the debate will be a long and difficult one.

LendingMemo / Flickr Creative Commons

Just many places across the country, the New Hampshire’s recover from the recession has been slow. Recently, though, many are pointing to signs of an upswing. Housing prices are going up, while foreclosures are going down.  Consumer confidence is better than it has been in a while, and unemployment is now at 5.1% - 11th best in the country. But all is not perfect:  many in the Granite State worry about high energy costs, the Affordable Care Act’s effect on business, and uneven progress in different regions of the state.

Sara Plourde

After years of isolationism, the U.S. rose in the 20th century to become the world’s sole superpower. Today, economic growth is slow, unemployment and income inequality are rising, and political impasses have ground policy initiatives to a halt. America’s status in global manufacturing, education, and innovation is slipping. Many economists project that China is poised to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy. It all sounds pretty bleak…but economist Charles Kenny paints a much rosier picture. In his book The Upside of Down: Why the Rise of the Rest is Good for the West he argues that Americans should stop worrying and learn to love the decline.

Jen Goellnitz via flickr Creative Commons

While an increasing number of states and retailers are looking to pass GMO labeling laws, planting genetically modified corn, soybeans, and cotton remains the norm among North American farmers.  Seed makers claim that of modified – or treated – crops resist pests and disease, reducing the need for expensive herbicides and pesticides. In pockets across the nation, however, farmers who once championed GMO seeds are complaining that they no longer deliver on those claims. Some are reverting back to conventional seeds for their commodities crops.  Elizabeth Royte is a contributor for Fern, The Food and Environment Reporting Network.  Her article, “The Post GMO-Economy” is featured in the winter issue of Modern Farmer.

The Two New Hampshires

Dec 4, 2013

New Hampshire Economist and Chancellor of the Community College System Ross Gitell is looking at the major demographic and economic differences between the rural and more urban parts of our state - a divide he says is growing. We’re talking about that, and his ideas on closing the gap.  

GUESTS:

via USTR.gov

Jon Bresler was an early supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement. As owner of Suncook Woven Labels, a textile company whose customers included Ralph Lauren, The Gap and J.C. Penney, Bresler figured anything that would break down trade barriers between the United States, Mexico and Canada would be good for business.

Pigeonpie via Flickr Creative Commons

At the height of the recession, the Class of 2011 was taking PSATs and perusing college brochures. What is it like to make plans for your future in a country whose economic future is uncertain?

To find out, we talk to four former students of Pembroke Academy: Matthew Lindsay, junior at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Sarah Kelley, junior at University of New Hampshire; Hannah David, junior at University of New Hampshire; and Kali Mara, senior at Plymouth State University

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