New Hampshire Unemployment Drops to 5.5%

The Unemployment rate in New Hampshire dropped to 5.5% in April, down from 5.7% in March. This drop represents nearly 1700 fewer unemployed in the state. According to the Household Survey, the number of people employed in New Hampshire also grew by over 1000, with the Labor Force contracting by roughly 500.

In contrast, the Establishment Survey data showed a net loss of 400 jobs[i] in New Hampshire over the month. The sectors seeing the biggest losses were Manufacturing   (-500) and Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (-600). Sectors seeing the biggest increases were Retail Trade (+1400) and Professional Scientific and Technical Services (+800).

Looking at the metropolitan areas in the state, Manchester saw a loss of 400 jobs, Nashua shed 500 and Rochester-Dover down 300. Portsmouth, on the other hand, saw a gain of 400.

So what to make of this data? For starters the drop in unemployment is real. In the past, both nationally and at the state level, decreases in the number unemployed have seen corresponding increases in those leaving the labor force. Though there is some evidence of that in the April data, in the contraction of the Labor Force by 500, the majority of those no longer employed found employment. It should be noted that March saw the labor force grow by nearly 2000. While the contraction is not great news, it is not terrible either.

That being said, there are some bright spot. The Household and Establishment survey discrepancies seem to indicate a growth in the number of self-employed. Whether or not this is out of necessity due to a lack of job openings or faith that the economy is going to make a comeback soon remains to be seen. Retail stores seem to be betting on the latter with nearly 1400 jobs in that sector created. Though there is volatile in the month to month figures for this sector, the trend is in the upward direction.

[i] The discrepancy between the Household data showing job gains while the Establishment data showing losses is largely because Household data includes the self-employed, while the Establishment data does not.