CONCORD, N.H. (AP) —
New Hampshire has gained back more than half the number of jobs it lost
at the lowest point in the recession and it could regain the balance by
early 2012, an economist with the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy
Studies said Tuesday.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
At the current rate of growth, the state
would return to a long-term growth trend by the first quarter of 2013,
and continue to do better than surrounding states in New England, Dennis
Delay said. The fastest growth rates will occur in professional and
business services, followed by leisure and hospitality jobs, he said.
“New Hampshire is a moderate-cost state in
a high-cost region, with a low tax burden, high standard of living,
relatively healthy and safe, and with a high level of educational
attainment,” Delay said in a report. “Low costs and a high quality of
life translate to a more vigorous New Hampshire economy.”
Delay said that as of December 2007,
before the recession hit New Hampshire, the state had 648,000 jobs. At
its lowest point in July 2009, the state had 618,000 jobs, a loss of
about 30,000 jobs — or 4.5 percent of the peak work force.
Total employment this past October was 643,300.
The job recovery is broad-based, he said.
Private employment increased by 16,400 jobs between October 2009 and
October 2010. There were gains in construction, trade, business
services, education, health and leisure. The one weak sector was
financial activities, such as employment and real estate companies and
banks, which lost 300 jobs in the same period, he said.
“There are still problems,” said Delay,
who released his economic forecast for the state a day before giving a
presentation for the fall meeting of the New England Economic
Partnership in Boston.
“Even though New Hampshire is recovering
jobs faster than the New England region and the nation, the local
housing market remains sluggish, and foreclosures are still at historic
levels,” he said.
He added that state and local government
spending will also be a drag on future economic growth, and the
Legislature will have to make difficult decisions involving a
combination of spending reductions and tax changes.
Also Tuesday, the Retail Merchants
Association of New Hampshire released its annual holiday survey.
Fifty-nine percent of the members said their sales for the year were the
same as or better than last year; 74 percent said they expect holiday
sales to be better or the same as last year.
When asked what factors would have the
biggest impact on sales this holiday season, 79 percent of the
respondents thought consumer confidence would have the biggest effect.
Retailers said they are expecting the economy to grow slowly in 2011.