Economy

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Mitt Romney and President Obama frequently remind us, jobs and the economy are the issues of the 2012 presidential race. The loss of an estimated 3 million manufacturing since 2000 has carved a deep hole in the American economy. Many manufacturing jobs have gone overseas, taking a toll on the middle class wages that once anchored the American economy.

We kick off our “Issue of the Week” series with where the candidates stand on job creation.  It’s the number one talking point of this political season, with contenders for Governor, Congress and President offering up an array of solutions for getting Americans back to work.  We’ll compare their different plans, what the campaigns are saying and how it’s playing with voters.

Guests

Ross Gittell - New England Economic Project Forecast Manager and Chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire.

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New Hampshire has the lowest child poverty rate in the country.  That’s according to new numbers released by the Census Bureau. 

In the United States, the poverty line works out to less than $23,000 a year for a family of four—that means two parents and two children.  And fewer than one out of eight New Hampshire kids are living below that line.  That’s good news.  But Carsey Institute researcher Jessica Bean says the same family of four with even twice that income—close to $46,000—is still struggling.

New Hampshire Union-Leader

Much of the debate between congressional candidates Charlie Bass and Ann McLane Kuster could have taken place between candidates in just about any district in the country.  The forum, organized by the BIA and NHPR, centered almost exclusively on the national economy.   And most of the time, the congressional candidates stuck to broad party-line talking points. 

Take Democratic challenger Ann McLane Kuster’s point on taxes and deficit reduction.

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StateImpact's Amanda Loder discusses the economic proposals of main Democratic gubernatorial contenders Jackie Cilley and Maggie Hassan with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley.

Tax Reform Focus of GOP Gov. Candidates' Job Plans

Sep 5, 2012
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StateImpact's Amanda Loder discusses the economic proposals of Republican gubernatorial contenders Ovide Lamontagne and Kevin Smith with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

One might think that the mom-and-pop motels of the 50’s and 60’s have all been replaced by cookie-cutter nationwide chains.

But some vintage lodgings in New Hampshire have found a way to prosper.

And now there’s an effort to push a plan to help them do even better.

We can’t blame Norman Bates for the decline of the mom-and-pop motels.

Screechy music from the shower scene in “Psycho.”

The Reluctant Recovery

Aug 15, 2012

More than three years after the recession was officially called “over”,the U.S. is still seeing sluggish growth in housing, business investment, and most importantly, employment.  We’ll ask why the economy seems so hesitant to take off including how much global woes and domestic political uncertainty are playing a role.  

Guests

Horia Varlan, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

A group of arts and media business owners have formed a coalition hoping to encourage film and TV production in the Granite State. 

The New Hampshire Production Coalition is currently developing a legislative plan that would help New Hampshire compete with more film-friendly states like Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, and Louisiana.

Tim Egan, of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, is the coalition’s president.

“Film, television, digital design, video gamers…  All the creative economy type industries don’t really have a trade association.”

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?

Eighty-one percent of Coos County’s 2009 high school graduates say they don’t see job opportunities for themselves at home. And, more than 60 percent say they see those opportunities getting scarcer. That's according to the most recent survey results from the Carsey Institute's 10-year Coos Youth Study, published this week.

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.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A new, two-year study of Coos County finds that the community is strong on cooperation, but struggles with the best strategy to create jobs.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen has more on the study done by the Carsey Institute

In 2009 UNH sociologist Michele Dillon began composing a picture of Coos County.

It would be a mosaic based in large part on about four dozen interviews with community leaders.

There have been two very distinct trends during the economic recovery: the first has been very slow growth in private sector hiring. The second has been a series of losses in public sector jobs, from state employees to firefighters to schoolteachers.

A new report by the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies finds that CEO pay has risen by eighteen percent in recent years, a far greater increase than wages in the private sector. Critics say this seems out of line with the charitable mission of these hospitals. But others say these salaries are in keeping with a competitive job market and reward highly skilled leaders.

Guests

Downtown Portsmouth.
Squirrel Flight via Flickr/Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/squirrelflight/1355544138/in/photostream/

We learned recently that the cost of rental housing has been climbing in New Hampshire – a typical two bedroom apartment in the state now costs more than a thousand dollars a month. And in some parts of the Granite State, businesses are dealing with high rental costs as well.

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

Unemployment Numbers for May Hold Steady

Jun 21, 2012
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Twenty-three hundred jobs were added to New Hampshire payrolls between April and May, but the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains stuck at 5%.

There was good news for Coos County: the North Country’s rate dipped below 8% for the first time this year.

Grafton County has the State’s lowest unemployment at 4.1%.

All in all, the data met expectations, says Bob Cote, a researcher with NH Employment Security.

With the focus on Europe’s economic woes and China’s clout, it’s easy to overlook that our nation’s largest geographic border, Canada, is also our largest trading partner.  Although, it works well most of the time, there are some tensions, like  over duty-free status, controversial energy projects, and imbalances in tourism traffic.  We’ll look at how these issues affect the bottom dollar in both countries. 

Guests

Even though the Housing Market seems to be stabilizing, foreclosures are still a major problem.  Some homeowners, who have tried to negotiate with banks are now going to court, saying they’ve not been able to get any clarity.  Meanwhile,  Lenders say they are making efforts, as they still are wading through an unprecedented number of troubled mortgages.  We'll look how foreclosures are fairing in the Granite State.

Guests

The Savings Dilemma

Jun 13, 2012

When the recession began, Americans started pinching their pennies and repaying debt, causing some to speculate that consumers might permanently abandon their free-spending ways.  But now, Americans are again loosening their purse-strings. We’ll  look at how and why our saving habits change and how these variations affect the larger economy. 

Guests

With looming debate over the  federal debt and deficits, a recent government report warns the U.S. could fall over a “fiscal cliff", and quite possibly slip back into recession.  On top of that, job growth has been uninspiring and across the pond, European economies remain shaky.  We’ll look at these new fiscal rumblings…and how we may feel them in New Hampshire.

Guests

When Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman hit Broadway and swept the Tony’s in 1949, it was a middle-class masterpiece – a transformative play that could bring even stoic-factory workers and tough-love fathers to tears. These days, the price of a ticket for the Broadway revival may be as out of reach for the average American family as a pro sports career was for Biff. 

What just happened?

JPMorgan Chase, the biggest bank in America, announced that it lost $2 billion on a massive trade placed out of its London office.

What was the trade?

Welfare changes in the 1990s helped slash cash benefit rolls, yet the use of food stamps is soaring today. About 15 percent of Americans use food stamps. The program has become what some call the new welfare.

A big reason why is a deal struck between President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress in 1996. At that time, the number of Americans who received cash payments — what's often thought of as welfare — was at an all-time high.

On the eve of the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the IMF's managing director, Christine Lagarde, says there's a spring wind blowing in a recovery for the world economy.

But, she cautioned, there are still dark clouds on the horizon — a reference to the continued threats posed by Europe's sovereign debt crisis. Lagarde says making sure the IMF has the resources to manage that threat is this meeting's top priority.

Spain Scrambles To Avoid A Financial Bailout

Apr 18, 2012

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy visited Poland last week and tried to assure international markets that Spain would not join the list of European nations needing a bailout.

"Spain will not be rescued," he said at a news conference. "It's not possible to rescue Spain. There's no intention of it, and we don't need it."

However, Spain's borrowing costs are nearing levels that were followed by bailouts for Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

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.

Paul Schubert and his wife decided to buy a new car last summer — a really fuel-efficient one. After a lot of research, they settled on a Toyota Prius. But there was a problem: They couldn't find one.

The tsunami that devastated Japan in March had dried up supplies of the Prius, which is made in Japan, and a dealer told them they would have to wait — "about four months," Schubert says. "And we thought, well, it'd be, probably, end of November, early December before we were going to have a car."

The Schuberts still had a working car.

Politicians and pundits frequently proclaim that they know what drives innovation and economic development. Despite their assurances, the chicken-and-egg question of whether quality education creates thriving economies or flourishing economies create good schools has been cycling around for years. For clues, Jordan Weissman, Associate Editor at the Atlantic, looked not to India’s booming IT industry or China’s cadre of engineers, but to Germany, circa 1386, when a papal schism opened up new opportunities for innovation.

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