How We Work: Five Years Later

It’s been five years since "The Great Recession" and NHPR is looking back, looking ahead, and, most of all,  looking at right now.

In this week-long series, we’ll explore how we work in a changed economic landscape: What work means to Granite Staters these days, and the forces that may shape N.H.’s economic future.

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Series made possible with support from:

New Hampshire is a small state with a small job market, leading some 80,000 Granite Staters to commute to work south of the border.

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

Can Millennials And Baby Boomers Work Together?

Nov 22, 2013

In a troubled economy, New Hampshire’s baby boomers are holding onto their jobs while 20-somethings start their careers. Granite State businesses are looking at how—and whether—to accommodate generational differences among their employees.

Millennials are in their teens to early thirties, and they often get a bad rap for being tough to work with. On YouTube, a fake training video, “Millennials in the Workplace,” has gone viral in recent months.

Numbers were provided by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning. Forecast projections were calculated by the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

New Hampshire women had plenty to celebrate a year ago, when voters elected a woman to the corner office in Concord and sent the nation’s first all-female congressional delegation to Washington.

But while the state’s political leadership basked in the media attention, most New Hampshire women continued to struggle with unequal treatment on the job.

Michael Brindley / NHPR

All week NHPR reporters and producers are spending time talking to Granite Staters about their jobs. What's it's like to be a logger, a music teacher, or an accordion repair technician? Have a listen, and hear what its like to do some jobs that you've heard of, thought about, or maybe never imagined doing.

    

It's a trend that has been ongoing for years, but was accelerated by the recession: women as breadwinners.  Kristin Smith is family demographer at the Carsey Institute and a research assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire. She has researched and written extensively about how women's incomes have become the primary source in more households.

New Hampshire’s food system is growing and changing, and that means old jobs are evolving. Farmers, for example, are doing marketing and media along with planting and harvesting. And there are new jobs in the food system as well, including this one: Hotel Beer Master.

Courtesy Addie Gann

On September 15th, 2008, the financial services firm Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11.  The subprime mortgage crisis had been percolating for months by then, as had a global economic decline – but the bankruptcy of the nation’s fourth largest investment bank panicked Wall Street, evaporating liquidity markets, sending the economy sharply downward, and sparking the worst global recession since World War II – a crisis from which the world’s economy is still recovering.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Richard Polonsky is an organizational consultant, and can, if prompted, easily talk like one.

“Being an outsider to an organization, I think people tend to listen to you more than when you are part of the organizational structure,” says Polonsky.

Based in Bedford, he has spent a career advising companies and non-profits on big campaigns. It’s a role Polonsky excels in: working from the outside, thinking strategically, and being blunt with management.

But as an independent contractor, he never received the same health benefits employees could access.

Michael Lokner / Flickr Creative Commons

We’re continuing our series “How We Work: Five Years Later” by defining “employee satisfaction” in twenty-thirteen.  During the recession, many people held onto their jobs even if they were unhappy, and many employers were unable to go above and beyond the basics. But now, there’s more attention to this issue, whether it’s flex-time, good benefits, or better pay, and how these improvements affect productivity.

GUESTS:

Rich Moffitt via Flickr Creative Commons

As part of NHPR's news series, How We Work:  5 Years Later, we’re asking Granite Staters to weigh in with their thoughts about jobs and the economy.

Each day we'll ask a new discussion question and throughout the week we'll read your comments on the air. Post a comment here, or on our Facebook page under the question we've posted. The link is here. Please include your first name and your hometown.

Today's question: What's the longest commute you'd be willing to make for a great job?

"I'd go an hour or so, though as I get older, I am less willing to travel long distances in the winter." - Sherry, on Facebook

"It depends on the traffic." - William, Manchester

"I would commute 90 minutes to two hours for my dream job." - Kristy, Contoocook

"It depends on the type of transportation." - Gilbert, on Facebook

"Great job...single Mom. Hmmm. Unfortunately, given single Mom-dom, I'd only be willing to commute 30 minutes each way." - Anne, Concord

"15 minutes." -  Andrew, Thornton

"An hour." - Heidi, Goffstown

"I currently commute 60 miles each way, which equates to about an hour and 20 minutes to two hours, depending on traffic. But, I only do this three times a week!" - Jennifer, Sandown

"90 minutes each way if it were a 9-5 type gig. From Bedford I'd commute to Boston if I had to, which many do." -  Sean, Bedford

"The last time I was on a job hunt, I drew a circle with a 45-minute commute radius, giving my town Acworth the center point. Anything more than that and I'd be working for gas money only!" - Kat, Acworth

"If we had a train/subway mass transit, I could tolerate an hour. In the car, no more than 20-30 minutes. I'm extremely lucky that I currently work for a company based in Brooklyn, but work from my own office in Chesterfield, N.H." -  Eric, Chesterfield

"Never commute more than 30 minutes. Life is to freaking short." - David, Facebook

"Up to 35 miles or one hour each way from Groveland, Mass." - Doug, Facebook

"45 minutes." - Jack, New Boston

"Already doing it, 2 hours one way. Checked into personal aircraft...but they are too expensive!" - Hope, Facebook

"I once drove from Berlin, NH to Boston, MA for a part-time job, I wouldn't want to drive any further than that and if it were full time I'd move closer." - Roger, Facebook

"I do 2 hours one way for a 13-15 hour shift 2 or 3 times a week. It's much less fun in the winter...I listen to a lot of NPR on my commutes." - Deborah, Facebook

"A great job is one that doesn't require a long commute." - @RobertTanguay

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

There’s a change underway in New Hampshire daycare. Increasingly childcare centers are opening and family, home-based operations are closing, and some believe the changing demands of the workplace are part of what’s driving the shift.

New Hampshire’s economy as a whole is affected by what happens across the country and around the world, but the defense industry, a major economic driver in southern New Hampshire, sees the effects of national decision making up close.

Like many industries, defense has seen plenty of change over the past five years. But because of the ongoing budget debates in Washington, there’s likely more change to come for the industry and for its workers.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

To get a glimpse of how each individual New Hampshire county is doing with regard to job recovery after the recession, check out the map below. The graphs cover the period from January 2008 through March 2013, the most recent numbers available.

What you're not seeing: Employment trends upward in the spring and summer months; final figures for 2013 will give us a clearer picture of where we are, but won't be available until next year.

[Click image to view larger.]

Courtesy Emily Wienberg

On September 15th, 2008, the financial services firm Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11.  The subprime mortgage crisis had been percolating for months by then, as had a global economic decline – but the bankruptcy of the nation’s fourth largest investment bank panicked Wall Street, evaporating liquidity markets, sending the economy sharply downward, and sparking the worst global recession since World War II – a crisis from which the world’s economy is still recovering.

As part of NHPR’s station-wide series “How We Work: Five Years Later,” Word of Mouth presents “The Class of 2008,” conversations with people who graduated from high school or college around the time of the global economic meltdown.

dantegeek via Flickr Creative Commons

Do employees work harder when they are paid more?

A new study out of Harvard set out to answer that question and came away with some interesting conclusions. One, that employers should consider not just what they pay workers, but how. Offering cash bonuses increases employee productivity more than raises in  salaries, even if the amount of bump is exactly the same.   

Duncan Gilchrist is Ph.D. student studying business economics at Harvard, and one of the authors of the study. 

Barks Of Love / Flickr Creative Commons

We continue our series, 'How We Work: Five Years Later,' with a look at younger Granite Staters and how they’re prepared for the workforce.  We’ll examine how we educate students, from high school to college, and how that’s changed since the recession.

GUESTS:

Starting around 2008, as the economy began struggling and banks got skittish about lending, foreign investors began sending hundreds of millions of dollars into Vermont.

They were attracted by a federal EB-5 visa program administered by the state of Vermont.

It allows foreigners willing to invest at least $500,000 to get green cards and live in the United States.

New Hampshire didn’t have anything like it, but the state is warming to the idea.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Sound  of construction……

Heavy machinery at work.

Ryan Lessard

Susan Ferre and her husband Charley Lang sold their home in Texas and moved to Berlin, New Hampshire in 2008.

  

With new calls for accountability and transparency on placement numbers and returns on investment, colleges are working to ensure that students see their degrees – and the money they put toward them – as worthwhile, not only in the programs and courses they offer, but in the services students can use to find meaningful work.

The career services office has been a longtime fixture on most campuses, but what goes on in that office is changing as the job market becomes more complex – and, for many, more challenging.

Courtesy Tim Mitsopoulos

On September 15th, 2008, the financial services firm Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11.  The subprime mortgage crisis had been percolating for months by then, as had a global economic decline – but the bankruptcy of the nation’s fourth largest investment bank panicked Wall Street, evaporating liquidity markets, sending the economy sharply downward, and sparking the worst global recession since World War II – a crisis from which the world’s economy is still recovering.

In 2010, then- New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed an executive order creating the Joint Task Force on Employee Misclassification Enforcement.  While it doesn’t sound like the most urgent unit, misclassification is a serious issue, costing employers, business owners and putting un-covered workers at risk. 

As part of NHPR’s week-long series 'How We Work: Five Years Later,' we’re digging into attitudes and policy towards work. Joining us to explain this issue is New Hampshire labor commissioner, Jim Craig, and Martin Jenkins, legal counsel for the D.O.L.

Via Business NH Magazine

This week, we’re talking about work…what we do…and how our attitudes and expectations concerning work have fared under the long shadow of the 2008 financial crisis. Today, we’re taking advantage of some good timing. New Hampshire-based tech company Dyn is holding its third annual 'Culture-Con' tomorrow in its Manchester headquarters.

We talked with two participants in the gathering to talk how companies create workplace cultures that attract and engage and retain workers in meaningful and lasting ways, Dyn's COO, Gray Chynoweth, and Amanda Osmer of Grappone Automotive Group.

Note of disclosure: Grappone is an NHPR underwriter, and Gray Chynoweth serves on NHPR's Community Advisory Board.

MacMillan Publishers

Is there an adult out there who has not, in a moment of fatigue, insomnia, or on a particularly hard day at work, looked around at their life and asked, “Is this it? Is this what I want my life to be?”  Even people who have plenty of money and status and work in their industry of choice may find themselves fantasizing about a job that engages their spirit. A new book from the School of Life series sets out a practical guide to negotiating the myriad choices, overcoming the fear of change, and finding a career that has meaning. Roman Krznaric is a founding member of the school of life. He advises organizations from Oxfam to the UN on using empathy and conversation to create social change. He spoke to us from Oxford, England to talk about his new book How to Find Fulfilling Work.

The numbers suggest employment levels are returning to where they were before the recession, but those jobs are not necessarily the quality jobs New Hampshire has had in the past. Economist Denis Delay talks about the numbers and trends, and what they could mean for the future of the state.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

  While government programs like mental health services were being cut over the last five years, one program has seen increased funding throughout the recession: services for people with developmental disabilities.  In particular, the state’s Bureau of Developmental Services has been investing in services that help people with developmental disabilities find work. 

Heart Industry / Flickr Creative Commons

We continue our series with a look at older workers. Some found themselves suddenly out of a job due to recession. Now, half a decade later, we’re seeing how they’ve adjusted - and the many paths they’ve taken, by choice or necessity.

GUESTS:

  • Kelly Clark – state director of AARP-New Hampshire
  • Dennis Delay – economist for the NH Center for Public Policy Studies; also New Hampshire forecast manager for the New England Economic Partnership

CALLOUTS:

NHPR / Michael Brindley

As the recession took its toll on workers across New Hampshire, many decided to go back to school to weather the storm.

But the cost of college being higher than ever meant having to consider whether it was really worth the investment.

Amid a sea of job-seekers and potential employers, Angela Rodgers sits alone at a table at a job fair in Nashua.

She’s filling out another application.

Rodgers is a 35-year-old single mother and had been working in child care, but, like many, lost her job at the start of the recession.

Economic forecasts for New Hampshire have repeatedly predicted slow but steady job growth, for the US as a whole and for New Hampshire. A report last week suggested that the state won’t reach its pre-recession job level until spring of 2014.

But the number of jobs isn’t the whole story of how we work in New Hampshire, five years after the start of the Great Recession. Many workers who want full-time jobs can only find part time employment.

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