Are Granite Staters Better Off Than Four Years Ago? Depends On Your Job

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In his acceptance speech at the GOP convention, Mitt Romney asked American voters “are you better off than you were four years ago when President Obama was elected?” The President responded with this: “we are absolutely better off than we were when I was sworn in and we were losing 800,000 jobs in a month.”  “Better-off” can be measured in any number of ways, from mood to consumer-confidence. But job security is a good one.

Of course, your job security has a lot to do with what sector you work in.  Let’s break it down: Continue Reading

A History Of The Pledge

The following was contributed by Jacob Hale Russell.

Next month, Granite Staters will vote on a state constitutional amendment that would ban any new income tax. It’s well known that New Hampshire is a rare hold-out in having no broad-based income or sales tax (Alaska, rich in oil reserves, is the only other state with neither), but how did we get that way?

“Around the big-bellied stove of the country store in a New Hampshire town men sit and growl about taxes,” the Boston Globe wrote in 1930. They could have been talking about almost any of the past hundred years: it turns out the state has come close many times over the past century to adopting a sales or income tax. Politicians — and not just Democrats — predicted, proposed, praised and nearly passed broad-based tax bills in the 1930s, 1960s, 1970s, and even the 2000s. Continue Reading

N.H. Has Lowest Child Poverty Rate In U.S.

Temari09 / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire has the lowest percentage of poor and low-income children in the country.

The Census Bureau has some good news for New Hampshire: The state has the lowest child poverty rate in the country.  For a family with two parents and two kids, the government considers “poverty” as an annual income of $22,811.  So these results are not terribly surprising in a state that has one of the highest median incomes in the country, and a relatively low unemployment rate.  Even when you factor in the larger “low-income” category–the same family of four making less than double poverty wages ($45,622)–New Hampshire still has the best numbers in the country.

But it’s not all good news.  Continue Reading

Merrimack Valley Snapshot: Layoffs At Manchester School District Fit National Trend

Amanda Loder / StateImpact New Hampshire

The Manchester School District's funding struggles this year are indicative of troubles schools around the country are facing.

Tomorrow morning on NHPR, we’ll hear from Jillian Corey, a high school English teacher recently laid off from the Manchester school district.  Jillian’s story is Part Five of our series “Getting By, Getting Ahead,” examining how people across New Hampshire’s seven regions are navigating a recovering economy.


As unemployment across the country has slowly abated, one sector has been a consistent drag: state and local government. Unlike the federal government, states and cities can’t borrow their way out of a fiscal crisis. So when the recession battered state and local revenues, many agencies had no choice but to lay off workers.

It’s a familiar story in New Hampshire, nowhere more so than in the Merrimack Valley. The region is home to Concord, the seat of state government, as well as Manchester and Nashua, the state’s largest cities. When the recession hit and the legislature began cutting the state budget, dozens of state workers at agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and  the Department of Corrections received pink slips. Municipalities saw state contributions to their coffers shrink.  And these communities, in turn, found themselves having to trim their budgets and cut public jobs.

Continue Reading

A Closer Look at Brewery Accidents After The Deadly Redhook Explosion

Karen Roe / Flickr

How common are serious accidents at breweries?

The accident that killed Redhook Brewery worker Benjamin Harris shocked New Englanders.  At seven o’clock on a Friday morning, the 26-year old newlywed and father-to-be was doing a routine task at the Portsmouth plant–pumping a plastic keg full of compressed air so that he could clean it.

The keg exploded, mortally wounding Harris in the chest and head.

Now OSHA‘s investigating.  The agency says it could be months before it knows what, exactly, is responsible for Benjamin Harris’ death, and if the incident was just a freak accident, or something the brewery could have prevented.  Foster’s Daily Democrat reports Vice President of Commercial Operations, Andy Thomas confirmed “the keg that ruptured and critically injured Harris was not owned or used by Redhook Brewery, nor was the keg owned by any other brewery operated by Craft Brew Alliance, Inc., Redhook’s owner and operator.”

The notion of breweries as potentially dangerous places to work isn’t necessarily something that would occur to many people outside the industry.  It can be easy to forget that breweries are manufacturers, and that the people working in these facilities are dealing with difficult and dangerous equipment.  With that in mind, we’ve been gathering information this week to try to put this accident into context.  How common are brewery accidents compared to other manufacturers?  And what are the most common types of hazards these workers face?  Continue Reading

Has The Stimulus Created Jobs In NH? Depends On How You Slice The Numbers

swyngarden / Flickr

Since its inception, the Stimulus Package has been a hot-button issue

As the clock winds down on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka: “The Stimulus Package”), it remains a controversial–and highly politicized–initiative.  This week, Grant Bosse of the conservative/libertarian New Hampshire Watchdog* project stoked the Granite State stimulus debate on the organization’s website.

Using data from the federal stimulus-tracking website, Bosse ran some figures and determined that with $985.7 million in New Hampshire funding, only 845 full-time jobs have been created.  That’s a cost of more than $1.1 million for each job.  Bosse notes this is a sharp contrast to the Obama Administration’s original promise to “create or save” 16,000 jobs in the Granite State: Continue Reading

Five Reasons Why Angel Investors (Think “Shark Tank”) Matter To The Economy

Thomas Lohnes / AFP/Getty Images

A hallmark of angel investors is aggressive risk-taking in the hopes that when a company's ready to go on the market, they'll see big returns

If you’ve watched “Shark Tank” on ABC (or its British forbear “Dragon’s Den” on BBC in America), you’ve seen, to some extent, angel investors in action.  Underneath the high-gloss of ratings-driven reality TV, you can catch a glimpse of this opaque, mysterious investment market.  As Colleen Debaise of the Wall Street Journal explains, angel investments can act as bridges “between that money you’ve gotten from friends and family and the venture capital that you hope to secure down the road.”  Of course, there’s a price to pay: Continue Reading

(Mega-Big Mega Millions Jackpot Aside) When It Comes To The Lotto, A Lot Of “Suckers” Live In New England

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

The frenzy for Mega Millions tickets have increased the jackpot by $100 million today...and created long lines for tickets all over the country

Earlier today, we reposted our Losing The Lotto series to give you a bit of context about why the Mega Millions frenzy is particularly important to New Hampshire’s struggling lottery.  Since we posted, the jackpot’s increased yet again–from $540 million to $640 million.

Not surprising given AP’s report of 27,000 transactions an hour in New Hampshire alone. Continue Reading

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