New Hampshire Economy

The Past

Historically New Hampshire, like much of New England, depended heavily on paper and grain mills to support its economy.  With the decline of mill work throughout the 20th century, the state came to lean on traditional manufacturing as an economic driver.  And although manufacturing is still an important part of New Hampshire’s economy, advances in technology and the decline of traditional fabrication work all over the country means factories employ far fewer people than in the past.  Toward the end of the 20th century, Massachusetts became a center for high-tech sectors. And in turn, New Hampshire has been able to piggy-back off its neighbor’s success, moving its economy toward electronic component manufacturing and other high-tech industries.

Despite these historic challenges, compared to the rest of the country overall, New Hampshire’s economy is still considered robust.

But talking about New Hampshire’s economy as a whole is tricky business.  That’s in part because the state’s culturally–and often economically–distinguished by its regions.  So while tourism is central to the Lakes Region economy, it’s less prominent in the Merrimack Valley.  And although high-tech work is integral to the Seacoast and Upper Valley economies, it’s much less a factor in the North Country.  But keeping regional differences in mind, some overarching statewide trends do emerge.

The Present

At this point, a few industries act as main drivers for the state’s economy:

  • Smart Manufacturing/High Technology (SMHT): SMHT is the largest and most important sector of the state’s economy.  New Hampshire’s SMHT sector is mainly known for using high-tech equipment to produce electronic components. 
  • Tourism: New Hampshire has traditionally depended on its natural resources and recreational opportunities to draw in out-of-state visitors throughout the year.  The Seacoast, Lakes Region, and White Mountains are the primary tourism hotspots. 
  • Health Care Fields: The Seacoast is a major hub for biomedical research in New Hampshire.  And thanks to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, the Upper Valley has become another center for biotech and other medical research.  The state also hosts ten major hospitals, in addition to smaller facilities, that employ a number of health care workers.

The Future

Looking to the future, economists say a number of issues could affect the state’s economy, including:

  • Demographic Change: One-in-three residents is a Baby Boomer.  As they retire, they’ll move into Medicare and Medicaid, which could place a further financial strain on medical facilities that currently count on higher revenue from private insurers.
  • Health Care Costs: This issue is closely tied to demographic change.  New Hampshire is second in the nation for the portion of private sector employees with health insurance.  But as these workers retire, they’ll move into entitlement programs, which could force providers to shift the cost of care to private insurance programs–and, by extension, to businesses.
  • Education Funding: New Hampshire operates one of the lowest-funded–and most expensive–state university systems in the country.  Many young residents find it cheaper to simply study out-of-state.  And many of the state’s young people also choose to live elsewhere.  The decline of a homegrown, educated workforce could hurt New Hampshire’s tax base and overall economy.
  • Energy Costs: The state has some of the highest per-unit energy costs in the country.  This overhead cost can be a barrier for manufacturers and other businesses that use lots of power setting up or expanding in New Hampshire.

A Manchester man has been fined $40,000 for filing false visa applications.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says Rohit Saksena, 42, runs a staffing company that specializes in connecting American companies with skilled foreign IT workers through the H-1B visa program.

Word of Mouth Presents: Masters of Scale

Aug 8, 2017

Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman explores theories about scale that are bold, new and sometimes contrarian. It’s a series that easily jumps fields, connecting the dots between seemingly disparate stories, all with the aim of illuminating big concepts and simple hacks that can change everything. Much more than an interview program, Masters of Scale is a genre-defining series on how to think boldly and differently about the world.

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.


DTLAexplorer

The New Hampshire job market is expected to keep growing at a modest clip, according to projections released by the New Hampshire Employment Security agency. 

In the next two years, the agency predicts the service industry, healthcare, and administrative jobs will account for much of the growth.

Michael Samuels

A small group of New Hampshire veterans will gather in North Haverhill Tuesday to learn about farm equipment and the agricultural industry in the state. 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Grover Norquist is occasionally referred to as the ‘dark wizard’ of conservative politics. His Washington-based organization, Americans for Tax Reform, is perhaps best known for its Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which calls on politicians to oppose any increase in taxes.

cincy project, Creative Commons

Rents continue to rise in New Hampshire as a shortage of units pushes prices up.

A new report from New Hampshire Housing, based on a telephone study conducted by the UNH Survey Center, puts the median monthly rent for a 2-bedroom unit at $1,263, up four percent from last year.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire is moving forward with efforts to sharpen its focus on economic development by dividing the Department of Resources and Economic Development.

The agency is splitting into the Department of Business and Economic Affairs and the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu on Wednesday nominated Taylor Caswell to serve as the new commissioner of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, while Jeff Rose, the current commissioner of the former agency, will take over the natural and cultural affairs post.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Some late season snow and a string of decent weather in New Hampshire are creating a bumper crop of strawberries in backyards and on farms this year. 

Governor Chris Sununu is nominating Taylor Caswell to be New Hampshire's first Commissioner of Business and Economic Affairs. The position was created in the new state budget.

Governor Sununu proposed the new commissioner-level job, to oversee what he says will be a revamp of state economic development efforts, and lawmakers bought into it from the start.In Taylor Caswell, Sununu is nominating someone with background in business development and as a bureaucrat.

Courtesy of Globe Manufacturing

  

A Pittsfield-based company that specializes in making safety gear for firefighters is being acquired for $215 million dollars.

Liz West/Creative Commons

BAO Inc., a twenty-year old sales and marketing company that works with firms in the tech industry, announced plans this week to open a new office in the Manchester Millyard.

iStock Photo

We may be hearing a lot about bees this week. It's national pollinator week - a chance to talk about the important role pollinators play in agriculture and the environment. And in New Hampshire, several organizations are planning events

As the populations of pollinators decline, national organizations like the Pollinator Partnership are working to raise awareness about the bats, bees, and butterflies that pollinate our crops.

Ben Henry

In a plant-filled apartment in Lebanon during the heat wave this week, Helen Brody drank iced tea and recalled the rise and fall of the New Hampshire Farms Network (NHFN). She launched the website in 2008, to nurture local food culture at a time when “local food” was barely a thing.

For the past decade, the NHFN website had been a source of in-depth profiles on New Hampshire farmers and their families. This April, it closed down, although the New Hampshire Historical Society recently made plans to acquire the profiles.

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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu says he’s more than made good on a key campaign promise: That he’d personally meet with 100 out-of-state businesses in 100 days.

“We spoke to businesses all over the world, I believe the number is 127, businesses in the first 100 days, so we met our goal quite exceedingly, and we still have quite a backlog.”

Kandy Jaxx / Flickr

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate went up slightly to 2.8% in March, up from 2.7% in February. New data from the state’s Employment Security office shows modest job losses in education, retail and finance, while construction and manufacturing were basically flat.

NH DRED

The Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism is hoping out-of-state experts can help in-state businesses attract more visitors.

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.”

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