The Exchange, New Hampshire Public Radio’s daily news talk show, will explore how New Hampshire’s workforce shortage impacts the economic and social fabric of life in the state, with a special broadcast series beginning Monday, May 20.
New Hampshire boasts one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, but at the same time, the state is also facing a serious workforce shortage across sectors and regions. A high-demand employment market affects worker retention, housing affordability and transportation. Some sectors struggle more than others—with the healthcare industry being particularly prone to critical shortages of key, skilled workers. The shortage of healthcare professionals spurred SB 308—the New Hampshire Senate proposal that called for changes like raising Medicaid reimbursement rates and streamlining background checks in order to boost workforce numbers. Manufacturing is also hard-hit, with an aging employee demographic and fewer trained newcomers to fill open positions. Manufacturing fields often require prerequisite knowledge of technical skills like physics and calculus—complicating entry into these fields for potential workers who lack those educational foundations.
Host Laura Knoy, along with a daily panel of experts, explores these and other industries most affected by the lack of workers and the regions throughout the state dealing with the subsequent economic and social effects. Guests for the in-depth series will include:
- Taylor Caswell, Commissioner of the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs
- Brian Gottlob, Principal of PolEcon Research, an economic research firm based in New Hampshire
- Andrew Houtenville, Director of Research at the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire
- Dr. Mary Flanagan, Professor, Department of Film & Media Studies at Dartmouth College, and Director of the Tiltfactor Laboratory, an innovation studio dedicated to designing and studying games for social impact
The complete series schedule:
Monday, May 20 – What does the workforce shortage look like, and how did we get here? The Exchange will kick off the series with a look at current labor statistics, and what they mean for the state, as well as discussing the hardest hit sectors, regions, and how demographics are affecting this entire picture.
Tuesday, May 21 – Some job sectors—like healthcare, high-tech, manufacturing and other trades—struggle more than others. Panelists weigh in on the challenges these sectors face, what they are doing to recruit skilled workers, and the value of on-the-job training.
Wednesday, May 22 – As New Hampshire businesses struggle to attract and retain quality employees, some potential workers still face steep barriers to finding employment. These groups include workers with disabilities, older workers, individuals in recovery, and people with criminal records.
Thursday, May 23 – New Hampshire’s economic future is dependent on the state’s self-evaluation of factors beyond the job like community, access to resources and affordable housing. The Exchange will spend the final segment of the series reflecting on why residents stay or leave and how the changing nature of work could benefit New Hampshire's best features or play to our worst fears. Also, the future of work, in New Hampshire and worldwide, will be deeply impacted as automation and artificial intelligence become increasingly available.
The Exchange is New Hampshire’s only locally-produced, statewide call-in talk show. The program airs live from 9 to 10 a.m. on NHPR Monday to Friday, and is rebroadcast from 7 to 8 p.m. weekday evenings.