Challenges Facing New Hampshire’s Workers and Economy During the COVID-19 Crisis

This year has posed unprecedented challenges to New Hampshire’s workers and economy. The COVID-19 pandemic and crisis has contributed to significant changes in employment and has impacted the economic security of many Granite Staters. Despite positive trends in employment and the other indicators, which continued into early 2020, the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in New Hampshire created a severe public health emergency and has led to subsequent economic and employment fallout. This COVID-19 crisis is both a health and economic challenge, and continues to impact the lives of Granite Staters.

Unemployment in New Hampshire reached unprecedented levels in April 2020. This spike in unemployment levels was higher than any point during the Great Recession, which spanned 2007 to 2009. Unemployment continues to remain elevated throughout the state, and job losses have been greatest in certain service-based industries. These industries, which paid lower than average wages, along with regions of New Hampshire where large portions of employment are supported by tourism and leisure activities, have experienced the largest levels of employment loss, represented through claims for unemployment insurance.

These employment losses in New Hampshire have directly impacted the economic stability of many Granite Staters, particularly those who were earning lower or more modest incomes, and who worked in the most effected service-based industries. Many of those facing employment or income losses due to the impacts of this crisis have utilized key support programs, which have been temporarily expanded or created in an effort to help ensure individuals and families can make ends meet. Despite these expansions to certain support programs, other challenges in the state were both created and exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. The costs of housing and food have increased during this crisis, and limited access to and affordability of childcare has created additional financial and employment hardships for many New Hampshire residents and families.

This Issue Brief examines the recent employment landscape in New Hampshire, the employment impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on specific industries and regions of the state, comparisons of the current economic recession to past recessions, and discussions of the new and increased pressures facing Granite Staters who may be the most vulnerable and face the greatest risks to their economic stability.

The State of Working Wisconsin 2020

  • September 3, 2020
  • COWS
  • COWS Staff


For more than two decades, we’ve released The State of Working Wisconsin. This year, we’ve released a new digital report to meet the reality of the COVID-19 crisis. Explore below for profiles of workers, monthly updates of economic data indicators, analysis from experts, and more.

Worker Power Key to a Better Balance in Georgia

Key Takeaways:

  • This Labor Day, we are reminded that there are still anti-labor policies on the books in Georgia that diminish worker power and economic opportunity for all.
  • Unions play a significant role in shaping a better future for Georgia’s workers, their families and the economy overall.

Why it matters

At the expense of low-wage workers, those who wield more than their fair share of corporate and political power have facilitated and benefited from a historic rise in racial and economic inequality. Policymakers and business interests have collaborated long enough through state and local policies to make Georgia simultaneously the No. 1 place to do business and home of the No. 1 place for income inequality.

The weakening of labor protections in Georgia allowed for policies like Georgia’s Senate Bill (SB) 359 to ram through this legislative session. This bill shields businesses from liability by creating a near-impossible standard to prove gross negligence if a worker contracts COVID-19 on the job. In other words, state lawmakers bolstered protections for employers, but not for the people they employ who were forced to return to work prematurely during a deadly pandemic in a state with one of the highest infection rates, particularly among Black and Latinx Georgians.

COVID-19 responses

  • March 23, 2020
  • EARN Staff

EARN Groups across the country are assembling policy resources, guidance, and recommendations to help their state address the crisis. Read those materials here.