New Hampshire’s economic strength relative to its neighbors has declined over the last year – and over the last decade. That’s concerning some economists in the state, who came together this week to discuss challenges at a lunch sponsored by the Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
Dennis Delay of the Center for Public Policy Studies says the popular notion that New Hampshire is a fast-growing state with a lot of in-migration is no longer accurate. In fact, he says, it’s starting to reverse.Brian Gottlob, a free-market economist and principle of PolEcon, says that while Massachusetts added 41,000 jobs between August 2011 and August 2012, New Hampshire lost 2,000. “To think that a neighbor, whose policies we often deride, is adding jobs at that rate,” Gottlob said, “and Vermont, another state we typically deride for its policies added about 3,000 jobs over the year.” Gottlob called the state’s performance “stunning,” and “uncomfortable.”
But it’s not just jobs numbers on the line. The rate of New Hampshire’s population growth and private investment growth is slowing, says Delay — two other indicators of economic health.
Echoing the concerns of Delay and Gottlob, the state’s Community College System chancellor Ross Gittell said he believes the state needs to invest in infrastructure. Gittell mentioned investment in broadband; roads and highways; public transportation like railroads; and education.