A Look at NH’s December Jobs Report and 2012 in Review

Josh Elliott-Traficante

According to New Hampshire Employment Security, December’s unemployment rate for the state was 5.7%, a .1 percentage point increase over last month. This upturn translates to 430 additional unemployed workers. There were 7368 initial claimants over the month with 45,784 continued claimants.

December Establishment Survey: Net Loss of 300 Jobs

According to the Establishment Survey Data, the state saw a net loss of 300 jobs. The sectors seeing the sharpest losses were Retail, which shed 1300 positions and Accommodation/Food Services, which lost 800 jobs. A sizable portion of both of these losses can be attributed to the end of the holiday shopping season.

The leading industries in job creation were Construction at 600 new jobs and Durable Goods at 800. While increased employment in these fields in particular are leading indicators of a recovery, both areas saw a net job losses for 2012.

Over the month, Manchester lost 100 jobs and Portsmouth shed 1000. However, Rochester-Dover gained 500 and Nashua led the way with 1700 new jobs.

2012 in Review:

Looking back over 2012, it was not a good year for New Hampshire workers, but not a horrific one either. According to Household Survey Data the number of unemployed increased by 4000 while the size of the labor force contracted by 1700. The first 6 months of the year saw the unemployment rate stay around 5.1%. July, however, saw a jump to 5.4% followed by a second jump to 5.7% in August. Since then, the unemployment rate for the state has remained essentially unchanged. One could argue that while the baseline changed halfway through, the economy of the state has been in neutral for most of the year. This stands in contrast to the country as a whole, which saw a gradual decline over the same time frame.

Turning to the Establishment Data, the state saw a net loss of 200 jobs over the year. In comparison, during times of economic expansion,  job growth would be in the neighborhood of 10,000 per year.

The biggest losses were in Educational Services, with 1300 jobs shed and Local Government which saw the same. The biggest gainers were wholesale trade which saw 1300 jobs added, followed by Professional and Business Services, which grew by 1200 positions.

For the year, Manchester lost 800 jobs and Rochester-Dover 300, with Nashua gaining 500 and Portsmouth 800.