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NH’s Workforce, Wages and Economic Opportunities

Published Friday Sep 6, 2019

Author NH Fiscal Policy Institute

The essence of a labor market is the workers in it. When an economy improves, it is often assumed that conditions for workers, including wages and job opportunities, improve as well. In the decade since the Great Recession, which officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, New Hampshire’s economy has seen growth in its inflation-adjusted Gross State Product, increases in the number of available jobs and in the size of the labor force, and continued decreases in the unemployment rate.

On the surface, it appears that this combination of factors would lead more workers to being better off than they were before the Great Recession.

However, the economic recovery and expansion that New Hampshire has experienced is complex. The diversity of New Hampshire’s distribution of jobs, wages, and other economic resources add more intricacies to understanding the well-being of workers in the state. Differences in wages and job opportunities show disparities between different counties and industries. These disparities also exist when analyzing other indicators of the health of the economy.


Increases to the costs of living in the state, in conjunction with decreases in purchasing power for many workers, lead to difficult economic realities for many Granite Staters.


The adage suggests, a rising tide lifts all boats. The tide is rising, representing the expansion of New Hampshire’s economy since the Great Recession. However, analyses in this Issue Brief will show that since the Great Recession, some boats are stuck in the sand. Portions of New Hampshire’s workforce are coping with stagnant or shrinking wages and job opportunities in lower paying industries. As a result, the economic security of many New Hampshire workers is being jeopardized.

This Issue Brief explores the status of the labor market in New Hampshire, including the circumstances facing workers in the recovery and expansion period after the Great Recession through to the present.  Read it here:

The analysis examines components of the state economy, including changes in the state’s labor force, employment opportunities, and wages and incomes.

The brief also focuses on the uneven effects of the economic recovery on Granite Staters of differing incomes, and the challenges individuals face due to the changes in employment opportunities and increased living costs in the state.






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