Underlying Weaknesses Remain

Josh Elliott-Traficante

The unemployment rate for New Hampshire was 5.1% for the month of July, remaining unchanged from June. According to the Household Survey, the number of employed residents fell by 390, the number of unemployed fell by 460, while the labor force has contracted by 850. This contraction in the labor force is represented in the .1 percentage point drop in the labor force participation rate to 65.7% from 65.8% the month prior.

The recent decline in the size of the labor force, as well as the labor force participation ratio in New Hampshire over the past several months has appeared in the national data as well.

A shrinking labor force is troubling because it indicates that people are discouraged at their prospects and have given up looking for work. While the state is doing better than it had been in the depths of the recession, the retreat is disconcerting.

The Establishment Survey showed the loss of 3,200 jobs across the state, reflecting the weaknesses seen in the Household Survey data. These jobs losses were largely concentrated in Retail Trade (-1,000) and Local Government (-4,100). Sectors seeing growth included Education (+900), Financial Activities (+500) and Construction (+400).

It is worth noting that the recent closures of all of the state’s Stop and Shop locations as well as the closing of 6 Shaw’s stores are not represented in this data. Due to the timing of layoffs, they will appear in subsequent jobs numbers.

Turning to the cities, Rochester-Dover gained 500 jobs, while Manchester and Portsmouth each added 400 jobs. Nashua on the other hand lost 300.

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