In May, some politicians and activists warned that reopening the state’s economy would be a public health disaster. Instead, it’s been an economic savior.
New Hampshire employment fell by more than 151,000 from March to April as the economic shutdown tanked the economy, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of this week, the state has recovered approximately 61% of those lost jobs (more than 93,000).
An estimated 689,750 Granite Staters were employed in August, the state Department of Employment Security reported this week. That’s an additional 14,270 people from the month before.
The state’s unemployment rate fell to 6.5%, down from 8% in July. It remains below the national rate of 8.4%.
As this economic restoration has taken place, the state’s coronavirus infections have plummeted. The state recorded 692 new coronavirus infections in August, down from its monthly high of 2,505 in May.
New hospitalizations fell from a peak of 213 in April to 21 in August. Deaths fell from a peak of 176 in May to 17 in August.
As the Josiah Bartlett Center pointed out in our reopening guidelines published in April, the state would do best to apply the minimum intervention necessary and to focus on behaviors. Encouraging individuals to practice safe behaviors, such as mask wearing, would slow the spread of the disease while letting the economy open back up.
The state shifted from a prescriptive lockdown in April to more of a behavior-focused guidance model in May and June. As a result, the economy has undergone a recovery while reducing the spread of the virus.