According to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statics, New Hampshire’s unemployment rate increased from 5.4% to 5.7% for the month of August.

As with the national unemployment rate released by the Bureau, the unemployment rate is only one of many data points published in the monthly jobs report. The data not commonly discussed in media reports however, often tells more about the true nature of the jobs market than the unemployment rate alone does. Following in the model of our analyses of the national jobs reports, below are three takeaways from the New Hampshire report:

1) Unemployment has risen from 5.0% to 5.7% since May.

This increase represents the loss of roughly 1000 non-farm payroll jobs. With a total of 626,000 employed, this is the lowest level since October of 2010. Since the beginning of the year, the state has lost roughly 3700 jobs. Compounding the job loss is the decline of the Civilian Labor Force, one of the data points used to calculate unemployment. This point is expounded below.

2) Only 2 sectors saw payroll growth, most declined or stayed flat.

The Bureau divides job types into 11 broad categories and tracks the monthly change in the number of those employed in each sector. Over the time frame of May to August where the .7% increase occurred, only two sectors grew, Financial Activities, which added roughly 500 jobs and Government which added 1700. Several sectors remained flat, while Construction and Manufacturing each lost 700 jobs a piece, Professional and Business Services lost 800 while Education and Health saw the greatest loss with 2400 jobs being cut. It is also important to keep in mind that remaining flat is almost the same as decline with the natural growth of the population is taken under consideration.

3) The New Hampshire’s Civilian Labor Force has Fallen Back to Recession Lows, Mirroring National Trends

The Civilian Labor Force, after having grown every month from its lowest point in June of 2011 has now returned to those lows. Since peaking in May, the Labor Force has fallen by more than 5000. Though New Hampshire is a greying state, the size and speed of the drop cannot be attributed to retirements or other demographic trends. Rather, it is indicative of people dropping out of the labor force all together, having given up looking for work. This recent dip indicates that there the level of confidence in the recovery is falling.

1 reply
  1. Gordon Brooks
    Gordon Brooks says:

    I don’t care much for statistics. New Hampshire’s much-touted low unemployment rate has never impressed me, for the quality of jobs in the state is abysmal.

    In our household, with three adults, only one has a job, and the income from that job has been falling, even without adjusting for the rate of inflation, which is another statistic I don’t trust (as I see the price of food rise even as the amount of food in each package falls).

    Of the other two of us, only my son is actively seeking work; I’ve been trying for two years and have found nothing but temp jobs lasting only a couple of months. I’m trying the self-employment route, plus a lot of selling on eBay.

    The problem is not that there are no jobs that I could do. The problem is the hiring process, where almost all applications are online and no one calls back to schedule an interview. I’ve even been rejected more than once by a front-end computer program. (Anyone with an interest in the job market should read Peter Cappelli’s “Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs.”)

    In the end it’s not how many people have jobs, or even how many people want jobs; it’s all about how well people can provide for themselves and their families. And on that score, New Hampshire has nothing to brag about.

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