While the unemployment rate in New Hampshire dropped to 5.0% in August, the decline was not caused by an increase in employment, but by a decrease in the size of the workforce. According to the Household Survey, the number of employed residents dropped by 120, the number of unemployed residents dropped by 650, while the labor force as a whole shrank by 770.
The August data continues a trend, seen in the New Hampshire labor market over the last few months, of declining unemployment coupled with a shrinking labor force. This is not unique to the state however; this trend is seen in the national data as well.
This means that discouraged workers are still dropping out of the labor force largely accounting for recent “improvements” in the unemployment rate.
Turning to the Establishment Survey Data, the state had a net loss of 1,000 jobs. The total number of private sector jobs declined by 3,200 and the public sector grew by 2,200. Areas seeing the biggest losses were Construction (-500), Professional and Business Services (-1,100) and Leisure and Hospitality (-1,100). Sectors seeing the most growth were Local Government (+2,400) and Wholesale Trade (+300).
The Manchester area saw no change in employment in the month of August, while Nashua added 700 jobs, Rochester-Dover: 200 and Portsmouth lost 700.