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N.H. Economic News Roundup: Forecasting 2020

Jan 3, 2020

2019 was a big year in economic news, from a trade war with China to rumors of a recession, to booming growth in some sectors, and lagging in others. We look at the big takeaways from last year, and what to watch in 2020, from real estate to workforce growth.

Original air date: Monday, January 6, 2020.

Ellen Grimm / NH Public Radio

Our In-Depth series on New Hampshire's workforce shortage continues with: untapped workers. We ask: what groups of potential employees are being overlooked?  These might include recent immigrants, people with criminal records, people with disabilities, and older workers. 

       

We continue our series on New Hampshire's labor shortage.  Skilled labor, manufacturing, and healthcare are three sectors facing serious workforce shortages. We look at the specific challenges for these industries and others, the types of jobs they are struggling to fill, and the efforts they are making to recruit employees.

Ali Oshinskie

The Exchange is spending four days discussing the workforce challenges in the state, starting Monday, May 20th. Read on for information about each show, and to find links to each program. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

State spending on job training would triple to $6 million under a bill given preliminary approval by the New Hampshire House.

The job training bill would add $4 million to an existing fund using money that would otherwise go to the state's trust fund for unemployment benefits.

U.S. Air Force

The Exchange is working on a series of shows about workforce shortages in New Hampshire. New Hampshire boasts one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, but the state is also facing a serious workforce shortage.

The Exchange will spend several shows exploring how we got here, the sectors and regions most affected, and discussing possible solutions.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's rental market remains tight, and shortages of affordable housing have widespread impacts on the state's economy. We discuss housing issues, and take a look at business-related legislation at the Statehouse, including business tax cuts and a capital gains tax. 

This show airs live at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 11, and again at 7 p.m.

Full-time workers often spend more time with their colleagues than their families. So, what's the history of work in the U.S. What changes could be in store for the workweek?

And why can it feel so liberating to leave a terrible job? On today's show we'll look into all of those questions and more. 

 

Brookstone, the ubiquitous seller of cool but largely unneeded things, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection again and closing the 100 stores that remain in malls.

Malls have suffered for years due to far-reaching shifts in the way that Americans shop for just about everything, which has diminished foot traffic at Brookstone. On Thursday, CEO Piau Phang Foo called the situation in malls "extremely challenging," and thanked employees who had staffed stores in those locations.

Brookstone will focus solely on its airport locations and online sales.

Kandy Jaxx / Flickr

The state’s unemployment rate ticked up to 2.7 percent in May, a tenth of a percent higher than the April figure.

New data released on Tuesday by the New Hampshire Employment Security office show more than 2,000 jobs were added to payrolls last month. That was offset by slightly larger growth in the New Hampshire labor force.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The Weekly N.H. News Roundup on The Exchange hit the road this week and recorded before a live audience at The Barley House in Concord. The show airs at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m Friday.

Click here to see photos from the event

Host Peter Biello also fielded questions from the audience, including two about marijuana legislation.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

  The state won't make a final decision on the Northern Pass project until late February – but Eversource is already recruiting a workforce to build the transmission line if it's approved.

At least 100 residents and business owners from around New England braved snowy roads for a job fair in the White Mountains Wednesday.

Liberty Mutual has announced it is cutting about 620 positions in New Hampshire.

Foster's Daily Democrat reports the insurance company announced the decision earlier this week. Liberty Mutual says many workers affected by the shift will either be retrained or transferred to different departments. The company didn't say how many employees in the Dover and Portsmouth campuses will be affected.

John F. Williams; Wikimedia Commons

Manufacturing jobs require more training in technology, mathematics, and problem-solving, and schools and businesses seek ways to retrain workers and prepare the incoming workforce. 

GUESTS:

There may be inertia among some New Hampshire employers when it comes to hiring people with disabilities.

Andrew Houtenville is director of research at the Institute on Disability at UNH. He spoke on NHPR's The Exchange about the challenges those with disabilities face when searching for work.

“I think there’s a lot of inertia,” he says, in terms of employers reaching out to new networks.

The labor market may magnify the issue. New Hampshire's employment rate is one of the lowest in the nation, at 2.7 percent.

A recent nationwide survey of supervisors finds that many businesses are not taking full advantage of resources available to train and employ those with disabilities. We'll look at the results of this survey, employment trends for adults with disabilities both nationally and in New Hampshire, and how employers can (and why they should) take advantage of this workforce. 


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ political donations are not all tethered to one party. This holds true in New Hampshire, which plans to submit an underdog bid for the online retailer’s second headquarters.

The Amazon PAC has contributed to a Sununu -- former U.S. Sen. John E. Sununu, the governor’s brother. The PAC gave $2,000 to the former Senator in the 2008 campaign. It donated $1,000 in 2004 to the Daniel Webster PAC, the senator's leadership PAC at the time.

Other Amazon PAC donations, according to Federal Election Commission finance reports, include:

New Hampshire is considering adding its name to the list of states making a pitch for Amazon's proposed second company headquarters.  

 Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs, says the "Live Free Or Die" state's quality of life and tax advantages -- including no state income tax -- could be one of the incentives.

Bryan Marble/Flickr

The economic headlines in recent months have been overwhelmingly positive, both in New Hampshire and nationally.

The stock market is up, median household income is reaching record levels, and unemployment is low. NHPR’s Todd Bookman, who covers business and the economy, joined All Things Considered Host Peter Biello to dive deeper into the numbers, and explore what the data means for working families in the state.

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.

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.


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.”

Allegra Boverman; NHPR

Both President Trump and Governor Sununu released details about proposed budget plans within the last few weeks, so we'll discuss the impacts of these plans, including increased defense spending, and more funds for managing the opioid crisis. We'll also look at current wage and unemployment statistics in the state, and how Granite Staters feel about their economy. 


Kandy Jaxx / Flickr

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate held steady at 2.7 percent for January, with modest job gains across a number of sectors.

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate fell one-tenth to 2.6 percent in December, capping off a strong year for most sectors of the state’s economy.

The final jobs report of 2016 from New Hampshire Employment Security finds that nearly 16,000 more residents had jobs than at the start of the year, and that those jobs came in a variety of sectors.

NHPR

Year-end reports show positive trends: from very low unemployment to the addition of 17,000 jobs in 2016. However, rental prices continue to rise, and while the Granite State has plenty of jobs, it badly needs people to fill them.

New Hampshire’s job market continues to show signs of strength.

The state added 620 jobs last month, pushing the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate down a tenth of a point to 2.9 percent. Since the start of the year, gains have been made across most sectors of the economy, from leisure and hospitality to education and manufacturing.

Working Then and Now & From the Archives

Sep 29, 2016
John Georgiou via flickr Creative Commons

It's NHPR's Fall Fund Drive! You can help support our show and NHPR by making a contribution here:

NHPRFundDrive.org

In the meantime, during the fund drive we'll be airing some favorite segments from our archives. Plus, today we have a new interview with Joe Richman who talks about his new project for Radio Diaries.

Here's what's on today's show:

nheconomy.com

Both major candidates have promised to revive manufacturing jobs.  We look at the root causes of its decline, including imports and automation.  We explore what it would take to renew this sector, both in the U.S. and in New Hampshire, and identify the challenges in creating manufacturing jobs here in the state. Dean Spiliotes is guest host.

 A note to listeners: This show contains a comment that some listeners found offensive. 

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