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August 4, 2013

Londonderry tops region for low unemployment

Derry, Windham aren't far behind

Londonderry is a place of work.

Among 12 towns in the Southern New Hampshire region, it has the lowest unemployment rate — 5.3 percent in preliminary figures reported by the state Department of Employment Security for the month of June.

“I’m not surprised at all,” said David Preece, Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission executive director. “When you add the potential Pettengill Road would bring, as well as Woodmont Commons, the town would be one of the biggest job generators in the state.”

Neighboring Derry and Windham aren’t far behind, each at 5.6 percent.

“I’m not surprised at all and I’m glad we’re number one in our area,” said William Parnell, president of the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.

Parnell was equally pleased with the showing of Derry, where he lives.

“That speaks well for our area,” he said.

But two communities on the commercially rich border with Massachusetts are struggling.

Plaistow has the highest unemployment rate in the region at 7.6 percent.

Salem, a shopping mecca with its mall, plazas and restaurants, stands at 7.4 percent.

None of the towns beat the state’s 5.1 percent unemployment rate. But all bested the nation’s 7.8 percent.

Seven of the communities are 6 percent or worse: Hampstead, 6.0; Newton, 6.1; Atkinson and Kingston, 6.3; Danville, 6.6; Pelham and Sandown, 6.8.

Preece sums up Londonderry’s advantage in three words, or rather one: “Location, location, location.”

The town is situated on Interstate 93, hosts Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, is close to the Everett Turnpike, next door to the state’s largest city of Manchester and in the state’s rail corridor.

Then couple all that with quality services — good schools, public services and utilities, he said.

“Londonderry has a lot going for it,” Parnell said.

Paul Donehue, chairman of the Londonderry Housing and Redevelopment Authority, shares that view.

“This is an ideal place for a lot of people to settle,” he said.

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