Despite a strong economic recovery from the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than two years later, many Granite Staters face challenges that make affording everyday needs difficult.
Key challenges include:
Rising inflation has reduced the purchasing power of many Granite Staters. Consumer prices nationwide increased by 9.1 percent in the year before June 2022, representing the largest annual increase in inflation since December 1981. Prices have risen faster than worker earnings, resulting in inflation-adjusted purchasing power dropping between July 2020 and July 2022 for NH workers earning average wages. By putting more stress on families, high inflation makes it more difficult to reach financial stability.
The tight housing market in NH has contributed to soaring housing costs that outpace workers’ wage gains. Affordable housing is out of reach for many Granite Staters, while rising housing costs are making it more difficult to meet everyday household expenses.
Inaccessible and unaffordable child care has limited workers' ability to fully participate in the labor force. This impact is especially pronounced among women, who typically shoulder a greater child care burden, and Granite Staters with lower-incomes, who are more likely to spend a disproportionately high percentage of their income on child care.
NH has the opportunity to allocate remaining federal COVID-19 recovery funds to assist Granite State communities and working families. These investments can support families in finding affordable housing, well-paying employment opportunities, and high-quality child care services. Building a more resilient, equitable, and inclusive economy in NH is possible, and making sure the recovery reaches all Granite Staters is key.
This Issue Brief examines key aspects of how workers in NH, as well as the economy as a whole, have fared relative to before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This report focuses particularly on central challenges facing Granite State individuals and families. This Issue Brief analyzes housing costs and availability, as well as disparities in access to formal child care services for children in NH. Additionally, this Issue Brief reviews changes in both employment and wages across the state and discusses opportunities to help address challenges facing working families across NH and uplift all Granite Staters.