The State of Working New Hampshire

In its present state, the New Hampshire economy offers a number of encouraging signs. Both employment – the total number of people working in the Granite State – and economic output – the value of the goods and services those individuals produce – have been on the rise over the past several years. At the same time, the quality of New Hampshire’s workforce remains high, as its level of educational attainment continues to exceed that in most states, while the extent of severe economic hardship, as expressed by the state’s poverty rate, is still lower here than anywhere else.

Yet, the state of working New Hampshire – the circumstances faced by many individual workers and their families – is somewhat less favorable. As this Issue Brief details, New Hampshire’s workforce is aging in character and all but stagnating in size. Moreover, recent years have seen a continuation of a longer-term shift in the types of jobs available in the Granite State, with service sector employment – and the comparatively lower wages associated with it – becoming more prominent. Further, the income for the typical New Hampshire household, as well as hourly wages for much of the Granite State workforce, have yet to recover ground lost since the Great Recession. In fact, the median hourly wage in New Hampshire has dropped more sharply than nearly anywhere else over the last eight years.