New Hampshire economy

Courtesy photo

Joel Storella’s “Cash Only Vintage” is about the last thing visitors to Littleton, New Hampshire expect to find while strolling along Main Street.

The quintessential New England town is known for being home to the world’s longest candy counter and the author of Pollyanna...but vintage Ralph Lauren sweatshirts and highlighter colored ski suits? Not so much. But those are just two of the many 80s and 90s gems you’ll find at Storella’s vintage clothing store.

An aging workforce and stagnating wages continue to trouble the Granite State, but job growth in manufacturing and tech offers hope for revitalizing our economy.  We look at that and potential impacts of the new tax law on New Hampshire businesses and workers.


Ken Teegarden via Flickr CC

The new year means New Hampshire businesses will pay lower taxes.

Two key state business taxes were first reduced in 2016, the result of a compromise between then Governor Hassan and Republican lawmakers. The deal allowed for further tax cuts as long as revenues didn’t decline.

But the state’s relatively strong economy has pushed receipts up, triggering a new round of business tax cuts for 2018.

“This is all part of a process of trying to make the state more competitive,” says Greg Moore with Americans For Prosperity-New Hampshire.

A group of education and economic development officials are discussing how to meet New Hampshire's workforce demands.

The group met in Bedford on Wednesday at a forum on the future of the state’s workforce. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Taylor Caswell, the commissioner of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs who attended the forum.

(Editor's note: this transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

With the holiday season upon us, we look at the outlook for N.H. retailers, as some venture into online sales; meanwhile there's also something of a retail reversal underway -- as some mega online companies go brick-and-mortar. Also, as consumer debt reaches new highs, some worry another borrowing bubble could be in the cards. And: Is the Granite State economy going strong or getting weaker?


Todd Bookman/NHPR

Think bagpipes, and you likely think Scotland. But one of the world’s largest bagpipe manufacturers happens to call Nashua, New Hampshire home.

That company, however, is facing an unexpected wrinkle in its international supply chain.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

President Donald Trump was elected last year with a promise to put America first: to renegotiate or possibly scrap trade deals he argues aren’t benefiting the United States.

In northern New Hampshire, where the state bumps against the Canadian border, those policies are now playing out in the lumber industry, leaving loggers and sawmills on both sides of the border adjusting to a new economic landscape.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Local economies don’t turn on a dime. When a factory town loses its factories, and workers lose their jobs, it can take decades for a community to get back on its feet.

That’s been the reality in places like Berlin and Gorham: two former paper mill towns in the North Country now trying to reinvent themselves.

Businesses, officials and residents are hoping that ATV tourism can provide a much-needed financial boost. 

Alexius Horatius/Wikimedia Commons

After years, even decades of trailing behind the rest of the state, Coos County may be headed in a better economic direction.

New numbers from the American Community Survey, which is released each year by the U.S. Census Bureau, puts the percent of people living in poverty in Coos last year at 11.7%. 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Commuter rail fans in New Hampshire received some good news recently. A private train company is offering to connect Nashua and Bedford to Lowell, Mass., with the promise that the towns won’t be on the hook beyond the costs of maintaining a station. If you’ve been following commuter rail issues in New Hampshire for the past two decades, this funding scenario may jog some memories.

Boston commuter cities like Nashua are jumping on the chance to develop a private passenger rail, after years of unsuccessful campaigning for a public rail system. New Hampshire's zoning ordinances and city planning processes are drawing criticism for their contribution to the current over-priced housing market. And millennials get their own commission to help the state appeal to a younger population. 


New Hampshire is considering adding its name to the list of states making a pitch for Amazon's proposed second company headquarters.  

 Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs, says the "Live Free Or Die" state's quality of life and tax advantages -- including no state income tax -- could be one of the incentives.

Bryan Marble/Flickr

The economic headlines in recent months have been overwhelmingly positive, both in New Hampshire and nationally.

The stock market is up, median household income is reaching record levels, and unemployment is low. NHPR’s Todd Bookman, who covers business and the economy, joined All Things Considered Host Peter Biello to dive deeper into the numbers, and explore what the data means for working families in the state.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate, which ticked down to 2.7 percent in August, remains one of the lowest in the nation.

If you are a glass-half-full person, 2.7 percent is cause for celebration, especially when you compare it to where the state was in 2009, when the recession shot the unemployment rate up to 6.6 percent.

Courtesy of Stay Work Play

Will Stewart arrived in New Hampshire, sight unseen, as a twenty-something in 2004. Now 38, he’s married, bought a home and is raising a child here.

In short, it’s exactly the scenario his new employer Stay Work Play wants to duplicate around the state.

Stewart will take over as executive director of the non-profit early next month.

Stay Work Play is dedicated to retaining and attracting young professionals to the state, doing so through events, partnerships and advocacy.

Source: BIA Report on Consumer Confidence

New Hampshire residents continue to forecast good times ahead for the state's economy. 

Mark Crawley; Flickr

A new report weighs the economic pros and cons of second homes, especially in towns where they make up a huge chunk of local real estate. A recent forecast of state job growth holds good news for health care workers...and bad news for teachers.  And U.S. News ranks the fifty states, and finds Massachusetts and New Hampshire are the best.


A new study, from the non-profit Americans for the Arts, shows arts and culture audiences spent almost $70 million in the four regions of the state that participated in the nationwide study.

That kind of spending makes an impact.

Michael Kooiman/wikimedia

Wages in New Hampshire fell in the fourth quarter of 2016, mirroring a trend seen across the country.

The average weekly paycheck in New Hampshire was $1,092, according to a report released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is down 4.1% from the previous year, the fourth largest decline in the country, and the largest dip in New England.

NHPR Flickr

One leading economist says the Granite State is "getting its groove back," with GDP growth up three percent in twenty sixteen. Also, the gig economy, including freelance and contract work, gains traction here, and job prospects widen for the state's aging workforce.


Cori Princell / NHPR

A company in Quebec announced Friday it’s opening up new operations in Berlin. Deflex produces fiberglass parts for Volvo buses and waterslides. The family-owned company says they’ve been looking for a way to make their products in America for American clients, and that they’ve been talking with New Hampshire officials about the move for over a year. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire’s economic output grew by 3 percent in 2016, the fourth highest rate in the country.

A new report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows the state’s finance and insurance sector helped fuel that performance, along with gains in retail and durable goods manufacturing.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, New Hampshire’s GDP kicked up at an annualized rate of 2.4 percent, a slowdown from the 4.6 percent growth seen in the third quarter of 2016.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

A group of New Hampshire investors are launching the largest seed stage venture capital fund in state history.

Matthew Roth/Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire continues to add high-paying tech jobs to the state’s economy--just not fast enough to meet the sector’s growing demand.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The factory floor inside of Graphicast, a manufacturing company in Jaffrey, feels like a throwback to another era. Workers stand around waist-high crucibles, plucking casts out of the pots filled with bubbling liquid metal.

“We’re melting at about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Val Zanchuck, the company’s CEO, over the din. 

Lewis Hine, via Wikimedia Commons

A century ago, Manchester, New Hampshire was known for just one thing: the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company.

“Amoskeag at one time, at its peak, around World War I, was more than 17,000 employees,” says John Clayton, executive director of the Manchester Historic Association and a longtime New Hampshire journalist.

  “So if you consider the scale of the city, at least half of the people who lived in this community worked for Amoskeag.”

NH Division of Resource and Economic Development

During a previously unannounced trade mission to Montreal, Governor Chris Sununu spoke warmly on Monday about hundreds of years of economic ties between Quebec and New Hampshire.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

After 20 years of racing, Loudon is losing one of its biggest economic engines.

Track owners announced this week that the annual September NASCAR event held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be relocated to Las Vegas. The town will still host a mid-summer race, but local businesses are bracing for the impact.

Allegra Boverman; NHPR

Both President Trump and Governor Sununu released details about proposed budget plans within the last few weeks, so we'll discuss the impacts of these plans, including increased defense spending, and more funds for managing the opioid crisis. We'll also look at current wage and unemployment statistics in the state, and how Granite Staters feel about their economy. 


Kandy Jaxx / Flickr

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate held steady at 2.7 percent for January, with modest job gains across a number of sectors.

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