New Hampshire employment, labor force continue to post strong numbers

By Sarah Downey | The Center Square

Growth in the construction, hospitality and health care sectors continue to contribute to a strong employment picture in New Hampshire.

“The rates are kind of unchanged, it’s because both unemployment and the labor force have been steadily increasing,” Annette Nielsen, an economist in the Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau of New Hampshire Employment Security, told The Center Square. “We have seen a little increase with in-migration that has kept up with the additional employment that has been gained.”

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The biggest gainer was construction, with 30,100 jobs in September 2019, compared to 27,800 in September 2018.

The state’s labor force also grew by 1,080 from August to September, to a record-high 772,760.

“[The] jobs report is good news for New Hampshire families, and further evidence that our economy is strong and the Granite State is heading in the right direction,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a news release. “The budget I signed just weeks ago ensures that New Hampshire’s business-friendly, income-tax free environment is maintained – allowing our economy ample room to grow and New Hampshire families the opportunity to continue to thrive.”

Using non-seasonally adjusted numbers, Nielsen provided data on specific sectors.

The biggest gainer was construction, with 30,100 jobs in September 2019, compared to 27,800 in September 2018, which Nielsen attributed to an uptick in road construction, as well as hotel and restaurant projects in tourist destinations.

There were 95,400 health care jobs in September 2019, about the same as August, but up by 2,900 compared to September 2018.

Hospitality had 74,000 jobs in September 2019, which was not up from August, but higher than September 2018, when it was 73,300.

Manufacturing did not fare so well, with 69,700 jobs in September 2019 compared to 70,400 in August, and down overall from September 2018, when there were 70,800 jobs; Nielsen attributed the loss to uncertainty over trade.

Finance and Insurance numbers were relatively flat, with 26,700 jobs in September 2019, compared to 27,000 for August, and 26,900 in September 2018.

“It’s a strong labor market in many areas, and the growth hopefully will continue,” Nielsen said. “We still need to attract additional workers going forward, we’ve had such a low unemployment rate for such a long time.”

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