Growth in health care and technology have contributed to continued low unemployment in New Hampshire.
A news release from New Hampshire Employment Security states the "preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August 2019 was 2.5 percent, unchanged from the July rate, which remained at 2.5 percent.” It was also 2.5 percent last August.
“We’ve always had low unemployment relative to the nation, but with growing unemployment and a growing labor force – because they kind of grow in tandem – that kind of keeps the rate at 2.4, 2.5 percent, and it’s stayed there a long time,” Annette Nielsen, an economist in the Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau of New Hampshire Employment Security, told The Center Square.
From July to August this year, the state’s total labor force increased by 1,170 – to 771,710 – which represents an increase of 8,930 from August 2018.
More workers have been choosing to move to New Hampshire, Nielsen said.
“It has changed, it has become more attractive. It was kind of flat, now it’s a little bit up – net migration is up,” Nielsen said, adding, “There are more opportunities, and New Hampshire is viewed as providing work-life balance and being more affordable than Boston and New York. That is definitely to New Hampshire’s advantage.”
Nielsen cited figures showing steady growth in certain industries since 2016.
“Manufacturing has not come all the way back, but it has definitely added jobs, particularly in computer and electronic product manufacturing,” Nielsen said. “In 2016, there were 14,900 jobs in that sector; in 2018, it was 16,000.”
The Seacoast region has been attracting many of the tech workers, Nielsen said. “It’s a combination of a great place to live and easy access to whole Northeast,” Nielsen said.
For manufacturing overall, there were 68,000 jobs in 2016 compared to 70,500 in 2018.
In health care, there were 89,800 jobs in 2016, compared to 92,400 in 2018.
In recent years, more opportunity also has come to Manchester.
“Manchester has grown and found companies moving into the old mill buildings, plus in the last five years there has been growth around Manchester Regional Airport,” Nielsen said. “More companies moving in, as there has been some development opening up in that area.”
Jobs have been relatively plentiful in the state’s northern region as well, Nielsen said.
“There’s definitely two very different job markets. The northern part of the state is more rural, so more related to tourism. Jobs in health care and technology are far greater in southern New Hampshire,” Nielsen said. “The reality is that southern New Hampshire has a great location, located in proximity to the greater Boston area, and all the companies are kind of integrated into the ecosystem. That’s the advantage for the southern part.”