The Merrimack Valley Region

The Merrimack Valley follows the Merrimack River, straddling part of southern New Hampshire and a swath of northeast Massachusetts, including the cities of Lowell, Haverhill, and Lawrence.  Residents on both sides of the border refer to their areas as “the Merrimack Valley,” but technically the Massachusetts side is considered the “Lower Merrimack Valley,” while the New Hampshire portion is the “Upper Merrimack Valley” (not to be confused with the “Upper Valley” in the Dartmouth-Sunapee region).

From the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, the Lower Merrimack Valley was a manufacturing powerhouse.  In the early 19th century, businessmen founded the city of Lowell as a textile mill town.

As the various mill industries picked up steam, they spread north into New Hampshire.  While Manchester was the Upper Merrimack Valley’s most notable mill town, the industry also gained footholds in Concord and Nashua.  As industrialization advanced over the decades, factories specializing in mechanical parts and other manufactured goods were established on both sides of the Valley.

But over time, some significant  economic differences have developed between the Upper Merrimack Valley and the Lower Merrimack Valley.  Both sides of the border have, of course, suffered job losses and other side-effects of a bad economy.  But in the long-term, as American manufacturing has declined over the past half-century, the New Hampshire side has seen more success in diversifying its economy. As the capital city, Concord, of course, supports a large government workforce.  According to the US Census Bureau, more than one out of five residents are government employees.  (Of course, these numbers are subject to change, especially given the state’s most recent budget.)  Only 8.7 percent of people in Concord do factory work.  These days Nashua also skews heavily toward white collar work, with 66.7 percent of residents holding down management, sales, and other office jobs.  Only 12.3 percent of people work in factories.  And in Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city, 60.2 percent of residents work in professional fields, while 13.6 percent of people do production work.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development found that nearly one in five Lower Merrimack Valley jobs were in the manufacturing sector.  As the national decline of manufacturing has accelerated during the recession, the Lower Merrimack Valley experienced greater–and faster–job loss than the rest of the state.  Wages in the area are also significantly lower than the Massachusetts average, with the low-paying retail and hospitality sectors dominating the economy.

Despite these differences between the Upper and Lower Merrimack Valley, there is still a lot of interaction between the two areas.  Lowell, Massachusetts is considered part of the Greater Boston Area–as is Nashua, New Hampshire.  Although mass transit between the Upper and Lower Merrimack Valley is decidedly lacking, easy Interstate access for much of the area has made it possible for many people to cross state lines as they commute to and from work.

Summary provided by StateImpact NH

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NH News
5:35 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Proposed Pawn Shop Regulations Aim To Recover Stolen Goods

Sheryl Rich-Kern

New Hampshire is known for being one of the safest places to live in the United States. According to a recent study, its crime rate is the fifth lowest in the country.  

But that doesn’t mean detectives have an easy time recovering stolen merchandise. In fact, police officials say they could respond to crime faster by tightening regulations among pawnshops and second-hand dealers.

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Technology
1:23 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

Nashua "Hackerspace" Looks to Reopen

MakeIt Labs in Nashua.
Courtesy Joseph Schlesinger and MakeIt Labs

In Nashua, engineers, gadget lovers, tech enthusiasts and other so-called “makers” are working to reopen MakeIt Labs; Nashua city inspectors shut the space down late last year over safety and permitting issues.

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Campaign 2012
8:30 am
Sun January 8, 2012

Occupy Protesters Demonstrate at Presidential Debates

Occupy New Hampshire outside Republican Presidential Debate at St. Anselm's College
Jonathan Lynch

Members of Occupy New Hampshire returned to Manchester Saturday to demonstrate outside of the Republican Presidential Debate at St. Anselm's College and spread their message of economic inequality.

Nearly five months after Occupy New Hampshire’s last tents were torn down in Veteran’s Park, the ninety-nine percenters returned to Manchester to demonstrate against what they perceive to be growing economic inequality across the nation.

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New Hampshire's Immigration Story
4:17 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

International Institute CEO Says Manchester Able to Support Additional Refugees

New Hampshire’s Immigration Story includes the stories of many refugees, people who come to the United States because they can't stay in their native countries, due to violence or famine.

Many of those refugees are resettled in Manchester, but the city’s mayor, Ted Gatsas, says that needs to change. He wants a moratorium on new placements to avoid straining city services.

Perry in Manchester
2:57 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Perry Plays Up Outsider Role

Perry speaks to workers at GSM plant in Manchester
Jon Greenberg, NHPR

Texas governor Rick Perry is stumping in the state today.  The Republican presidential hopeful urged workers at a manufacturing plant in Manchester to put pressure on congress to change. 

Rick Perry has been targeting the Washington establishment in recent days.  He issued a plan to cut the salaries of senators and congressmen in half.  Asked how he would get congress to go along, he said the public would need to browbeat them into agreement.

Perry said the counties around DC are some of the wealthiest in the country.

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NH News
11:21 am
Wed November 9, 2011

Gatsas Re-elected

Jon Lynch, NHPR

Still recovering from city-wide power outages from the surprise Halloween blizzard, Manchester
voters went to the polls yesterday and re-elected Mayor Ted Gatsas.

The incumbent secured a second term as mayor by a wide margin, trouncing
Democratic challenger Chris Herbert.

In his victory speech, Gatsas thanked his opponent for running a positive campaign and
stressed his commitment to reduce the city’s budget.

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NH News
12:00 am
Wed June 18, 2008

Nashua Residents Look To Build Hindu Temple

About 4500 people living in New Hampshire were born in India. And more than a third of them live in Nashua. They do their best to keep their connections with their culture through their cooking and recreation - Nashua alone has five cricket teams. But one thing they don't have is a place to pray. Now a group of local residents is saying it's time to open a Hindu temple.

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Audio Postcard
2:29 pm
Wed May 24, 2006

Fish Blessed At Amoskeag

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Audio Postcard
3:25 pm
Mon January 24, 2005

New Englands Antique Radio Club Meets in Nashua

Buy and sell ancient radio paraphernalia at the New England Antique Radio Club Swap Meet.
mullica

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Audio Postcard
5:12 pm
Mon April 9, 2001

The NHSO Conductor Search Continues

The search process takes place at the Palace Theatre in Manchester.
HotblackDesiato

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