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.

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Business and Economy
4:16 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Report: N.H. Colleges Generate $5.8 Billion For State Economy

Ryan Lessard for NHPR

New Hampshire's colleges and universities say their latest report shows that they are major contributors to the state's vibrant economy.

The New Hampshire College and University Council estimates that its 22 public and private nonprofit institutions directly supported 17,800 jobs in fiscal year 2012-13 and generated an estimated economic impact of $5.8 billion.

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North Country
4:05 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Construction of Balsams Could Begin In June, But There Is A $28 Million Catch

The resort closed late in 2011, putting about 300 full or part-time employees out of work.
Chris Jensen for NHPR

The developers of the Balsams resort hope to begin construction in June for what could be the largest economic development project in the history of the job-poor North Country. But the go-ahead depends on passage of Senate Bill 30 which would put a state guarantee behind $28 million in bonds, the developers say.

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NH News
6:54 am
Thu February 26, 2015

N.H. Liquor Commission Reports Record Sales Of Locally Made Wines And Spirits

Andy Harthcock of Djinn Spirits in Nashua.
Credit Courtesy of NHLC

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission says sales of locally produced wines and spirits reached a record high of $1.35 million. Sales grew by 32.5% over the past fiscal year.

Liquor Commission Chairman Joseph Mollica attributes this growth to prominent product placement in the state’s liquor stores.

“We’re very supportive of them and we appreciate their hard work and dedication to their craft. And we’re happy to promote their products as New Hampshire citizens.”

The Liquor Commission also provides local producers with free warehouse storage.

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NH News
7:49 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Poll: New Hampshire Residents Optimistic About Economy

  A poll shows that New Hampshire residents remain optimistic about the national and state economies, as well as their own financial status.   The findings are based on the latest Business and Industry Association Report on Consumer Confidence, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.   When asked how New Hampshire businesses will do over the next year, 55 percent of residents said they think state businesses will enjoy good times financially. Only 19 percent think they will experience bad times, and 26 percent anticipate mixed conditions.   The phone poll of 509 randomly

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Giving Matters
12:33 am
Sat February 7, 2015

Giving Matters: WREN Helps Local Entrepreneurs Thrive

Jeannette Fournier

WREN (formerly the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network) provides support, training, and networking opportunities to people operating small businesses in northern New Hampshire. They also operate two storefronts and two farmers’ markets for local vendors. 

“I’ve been a painter all my life.” Jeannette Fournier’s medium is watercolors and a few years back she and her husband relocated to the Littleton-area. “We happened to drive through Bethlehem and I noticed the WREN organization on main street. I thought, “this couldn’t be more perfect timing.”

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North Country
3:10 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Littleton Duo Plows Into Boutique Ski Business With Engineering Know-How

Sanding is one of the last steps of a process that begins with computer-aided design and a background in composite engineering.
Credit Chris Jensen for NHPR

When most people buy skis they turn to a well-known company. Maybe they get a pair of Rossignols or K2s. But big-names are no longer the only option: some two hundred companies – mostly tiny – now make skis in the United States alone.

One of the newest - Sandwich Tech - is run by Katie Mros and Matt Michaud of Littleton.

Like many others who want to live in the North Country they decided to take an innovative idea, hold their breath and try to make a living doing something they love.

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Word of Mouth
2:13 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Good Gig: Spotify Browse Editor Rob Fitzpatrick

Initially we contacted Rob Fitzpatrick to talk about the series he's been writing for The Guardian, "101 Strangest Records on Spotify", but when we found out what he does for a living, we realized we had a real Good Gig on our hands. The job title "Browse Editor" for Spotify was not one we'd heard of before, but now we all want that job! Getting paid to listen to music seems like the best kind of job.

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Word of Mouth
2:21 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

1.21.15: In Defense Of Office Life, Can We Save The Creative Class, & "Necro-Streaming"

Still from the 1967 film Playtime.
Credit Stephen Cole via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/AMuDH

From 9 to 5 to The Office, we’ve got plenty of examples of cookie-cutter cubicles where workers toil away in soul-crushing boredom and fatigue. On today’s show, we flip the script and hear a defense of office life. 

Print media circling the drain, record and film companies battling piracy, the rise of cheap, reality TV: while some sectors have bounced back from the recession, creative industries seem to remain in peril. A former arts reporter ponders the decline of the creative class and what society loses when artists can’t make a living.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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North Country
5:07 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

How Kickstarter Kept A North Country Cafe Open - And Kept It In The Family

If there were no buyers the fear was that the Cold Mountain Cafe would close.
Credit Chris Jensen for NHPR

For 15 years the Cold Mountain Café in Bethlehem has been a fixture in the North Country.

But when one of its co-owners died, it looked like the café might close.

That is until the owner’s daughter decided to turn to the community for help.

To a large extent Kate Foley grew up in the café her father co-owned, waiting tables and becoming friends with hundreds of customers.

But when she decided she wanted to buy the half of the business owned by her father’s partner she ran into a big challenge.

Money.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Wed January 14, 2015

A New Normal?: N.H.'s Post-Recession Economy

Credit Philip Long / Flickr/CC

Although the state has regained all the jobs it lost in the Great Recession, many are said to be part-time or lower paying.   Still, the U.S. economy seems to be on a roll, and optimism appears to be taking hold. We’re looking at who’s faring well and why in the Granite State, and who’s been left behind.

GUESTS:

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Poverty Under A Microscope In N.H.

Credit UK in Hungary / Flickr/CC

Following up on our homelessness show yesterday, we’re looking at the broader issue of poverty in New Hampshire.  While the state has one of the nation’s lowest poverty rates, it doesn’t always do well on certain measures, like childhood poverty. We’re looking at the latest numbers, and some of the efforts to address the issue.

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Word of Mouth
9:19 am
Wed December 31, 2014

The Bad Impressions Show

We’ve all fumbled a first impression at some point or another. Look no further than Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Before it was published in 1814, its working title was First Impressions which probably referred to protagonist Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s very first encounter – which as initial impressions go, was pretty abysmal.

But who knew getting off on the wrong foot was so easy?

This show is all about bad impressions. From bungling a business meeting, to what not to wear on a first date.

Plus, a comic tells us what happens when his go-to impression loses its appeal.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

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All Things Considered
2:44 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Vermont Yankee Closing Could Bring 'Considerable' Economic Changes To Southwestern N.H.

In just over a week Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is set to close. It means the end of a long-running debate over the plant and nuclear energy in the Green Mountain State, but it could also mean the start of some economic challenges for the area surrounding the plant, including parts of New Hampshire's Monadnock Region.

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Newscast
4:37 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

N.H. Companies Awarded Job-Training Grants

Six more New Hampshire companies have been awarded grants to train workers in new skills.

Gov. Maggie Hassan on Monday announced that the $66,460 grant, plus matching funds from the companies, will be used to train 327 workers. The Job Training Fund has awarded more than $7 million since 2007.

The latest recipients are Felton Inc. of Londonderry, Amherst Label of Milford, EnviroVantage of Epping, Foss Manufacturing of Hampton, Fujifilm Dimatix of Lebanon and Littleton Coin Company.

The Exchange
8:00 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Why Americans Can't Find Better Balance Between Work And Life

Credit Lyanne Guarecuco / Flickr/CC

A recent survey shows Americans rank finding balance between our jobs and lives beyond work as a top priority, but that overall we’re doing a poor job achieving that.  We’re looking at this conundrum, and exploring the notion that perhaps we do in fact have more leisure time than we think, especially compared with earlier eras.

This show is a rebroadcast that originally aired on 9/3/14.

GUEST:

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Word of Mouth
2:17 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Good Gig: Color Expert Lee Eiseman

Good Gig is a series of conversations with individuals who have landed their dream job.

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Politics
1:56 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Hassan Touts Economic Record At Campaign Stop

Governor Hassan talks with employees at Commonplaces who benefited from the job training program.
Credit Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan touted her economic credentials at a campaign stop at a Manchester marketing company Tuesday. She also fired a few shots at her opponent, Walt Havenstein.

Hassan argued she’s better equipped to help small businesses than rival Walt Havenstein. Internet marketing company Commonplaces was a beneficiary of job training grants. Hassan championed that program and what she terms bipartisan successes like increasing higher ed funding, raising the gas tax and expanding Medicaid.

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Word of Mouth
3:35 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

10.12.14: The Wonderful World Of Books

Credit MorBCN via flickr Creative Commons

Today’s show is all about the wonderful world of books, starting with the U.S. Senate Handbook, a 380 page document of sometimes confounding rules intended to keep Senate offices running smoothly. Then, we’ll speak to an antiquarian bookseller about the beauty and obsession of rare books. And actor and comedian Bob Odenkirk discusses his debut collection of writings, A Load of Hooey.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
1:44 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Good Gig: Rare Books Dealer Ken Gloss

Good Gig is a series of conversations with individuals who have landed their dream job. 

We're kicking off the series with Ken Gloss, the proprietor of the Brattle Book Shop in Boston, one of the largest--and oldest--antiquarian bookshops in the country. He has also been an appraiser of rare books and manuscripts for The Antiques Roadshow since 1998.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Robots And The Future Of Work

Credit a_Inglis / Flickr/CC

As computers and robotic machinery grow more sophisticated, there are concerns that automation is making it harder for human workers to compete. But others say robotic workers will lead to better jobs, more productivity, and even an age of leisure for humans. We’ll hear from the experts on how the rise of the robot may change the face of the workforce.

This program was originally broadcast on 8/21/14.

GUESTS:

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All Things Considered
4:10 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Investors Surprised By Bankruptcy Filing For GT Advanced Technologies

GT Advanced Technologies was preparing to make sapphire glass screens for Apple, but the company decided not to use those screens in the new iPhone 6.
Credit thronx via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/CltVB

The New Hampshire-based company GT Advanced Technologies is heading for chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In announcing the filing today, officials said that GT is not planning to go out of business, but instead try to develop a plan to reorganize.

Bob Sanders with the New Hampshire Business Review joined All Things Considered to discuss this development.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Commuting To Boston: The Daily Exodus Out Of N.H.

Credit Bricky Cement / Flickr/CC

More than eighty-thousand Granite Staters travel to the Bay State for work, a fact that’s been cited as both an economic boon and drawback for New Hampshire. While both views could be valid, there are other impacts too: work-life balance and community involvement can take a hit when people spend a long time commuting.

GUESTS:

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NH News
4:34 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

N.H.'s Apple Crop Lighter This Year, But Still Plenty To Go Around

Lorraine Merrill, commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, stands next to and Governor Maggie Hassan as she reads a proclamation regarding New Hampshire Apple Day.
Credit NHPR / Michael Brindley

Governor Maggie Hassan kicked off this year’s apple picking season with the ceremonial first pick Thursday at Gould Hill Farm in Contoocook.

This year’s apple crop is not expected to be quite as fruitful as last year’s.

Governor Hassan plucked a few ripe apples and encouraged families to get out to their local farms and pick some of their own.

“There are in fact great apples here in New Hampshire. We got through the winter. We’ve got a crop and we’re really really eager to have a great apple season.

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Word of Mouth
10:00 am
Mon September 1, 2014

9.1.14: The Job Show

Credit Adam Fagen via flickr Creative Commons

 This is a re-broadcast of the Job Show which originally aired on April 9, 2014.

Johnny Paycheck famously sang, “Take This Job and Shove It.” In this economy? Not so fast. Today’s Word of Mouth is all about jobs.

Find out what happens when salary negotiations go a step too far, plus, a wholly unglamorous portrait of a freelance writer trying to make it in the big city. We’ll also talk to someone who has a very unique job: the official sketch artist for the Supreme Court.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


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All Things Considered
4:56 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Foodstuffs: In Walpole, A Legal Dispute Over Ice Cream

It's unlikely anyone would describe legal wrangling over ice cream as sweet. Ice cream itself, on the other hand...
Credit Cascadian Farm via Flickr/CC http://ow.ly/APWQE

Yes, the Market Basket dispute is over, but not all is rosy in the New Hampshire food world. Take for example, the legal challenge in Walpole between two ice cream shops.

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Word of Mouth
2:20 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

8.26.14: The Unhealthy Secret Of Brown Bag Lunches & Vocal Fry's Professional Impact

Credit anotherlunch.com via Flickr CC

  While me may not remember classmates’ names, or the books we read, there’s something about school lunch that stays with us long after graduation. Today, Word of Mouth investigates the content of children’s brown bag lunches, and discovers they’re not always healthier than cafeteria fare.  Then: a growing number of young Americans are lowering their vocal registers. We’ll look at the speech pattern known as vocal fry, and find out why women who speak with a creak have worse job prospects than their higher-register peers.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


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The Exchange
9:00 am
Wed August 13, 2014

What's Behind The Burgeoning Backyard Chicken Movement In N.H.

From Jessica in Lyme

As more Granite Staters set up coops, some of their neighbors are crowing over the noise –and local governments are having to step in. We’ll talk about caring for the chickens you own and dealing with the chickens you don’t.

GUESTS:

  • Dot Perkins - field specialist and a member of the livestock team for the UNH Cooperative Extension out of the Merrimack County Office in Boscawen.
  • Jason Reimers - land use lawyer for BCM Environmental & Land Law.

LINKS:

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Business and Economy
11:38 am
Tue August 12, 2014

N.H. Unemployment Rate Unchanged In July

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate remained unchanged last month, at 4.4 percent.   At the same time last year, it was 5.2 percent.   But the state’s Employment Security office reports the number of Granite Staters in the workforce shrank by 2,550 people from June.  And 310 more people were unemployed.   Nationally, the jobless rate went up slightly, to 6.2 percent.

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