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November 12, 2013

N.H. employment approaches 2008 levels

Economic forecast: Pre-recession employment expected by spring

A new economic forecast predicts New Hampshire will see employment match pre-recession levels by May.

The forecast will be presented today during an economic outlook conference at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston.

“New Hampshire will most likely be the third state in New England to recover the jobs lost in the Great Recession, with the state hitting its pre-recession peak in the spring of 2014,” economist Dennis Delay said.

Delay earlier this year said New Hampshire has lagged Massachusetts and Vermont in the recovery.

“Job growth in the New Hampshire recovery remains slow,” Delay said. “New Hampshire had 650,000 non-farm jobs in 2008, as the recession began taking hold, and the state will not see that many jobs again until May 2014.”

The study reflects what has happened locally with the recovery.

“That squares with what we’re seeing here,” said William Parnell, president of the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. “It has not been as rapid as I would like to see. I still think we need to deal with the widening of Interstate 93 to break this open.”

The economic improvement is showing up in projects before local regulatory boards.

“We are seeing lots of new activity,” Salem planning director Ross Moldoff said.

Moldoff, in a report to Town Manager Keith Hickey in September, said the Planning Board had reviewed nearly 40 commercial projects this year.

The New England Economic Partnership produced the economic forecasts.

Delay, an economist with the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies, is the group’s New Hampshire forecast chairman.

The forecast predicts New Hampshire will lose 0.4 percent of its manufacturing jobs annually for the next five years, but manufacturing output will increase.

The study projects a 2.0 percent annual increase in private services sector employment, driven by growth in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, education and health fields.

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