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State’s recovery  is on the horizon

Economist predicts New Hampshire’s  pre-recession job level will return by summer 2014

The recession that began in December 2007 and swept across the country lasted for approximately a year and a half, crippling states in the job sector and housing markets. The economic recovery process is a long one, although some New England states have bounced back faster than others. New Hampshire, according to one state economist, has experienced a slow and disappointing recovery, but that should turn around in the next year.

As of this moment in 2013, Massachusetts has had a full job recovery, while Vermont will be the next state in that position. According to N.H. Center for Public Policy Studies economist Dennis Delay, New Hampshire will be the next in line to reach its full employment numbers.

Pre-recession jobs in the state totaled 650,000 non-farm jobs in 2008, Delay reported at the 2013 Spring Economic Outlook Conference in Boston on May 22. In a phone interview Thursday, he said New Hampshire should see that many jobs again by summer 2014. As of April, there were 638,000 non-farm jobs in New Hampshire, according to Delay’s figures.

Delay said that for the most part people aren’t moving into the state as frequently as they used to, which is one of the key factors in the slow economic growth.

“For New Hampshire, what’s different this time is we’re not seeing the type of in-migration that’s associated with recession recovery,” he said. “We’ve even seen out-migration for a majority of the years during the recession.”

As a suburb of a major city like Boston, people will sometimes relocate to southern parts of New Hampshire. That domestic in-migration hasn’t happened like it has in the past, Delay said.

In April 2013, the state’s unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, two percentage points above what the state considers full employment. Delay said that manufacturing and high technology are the largest sectors in New Hampshire’s economy. In 2012, a total of $37 billion in compensation was paid to New Hampshire employees, and of that $37 billion, $6.8 billion was received by manufacturing and high technology workers, Delay said in a May 22 report, “New Hampshire Economic Outlook.”

That, he said, relates well to the Monadnock region since the area is known for its large and small manufacturing employers. And that helps insulate the region from much economic harm.

“Monadnock tends to be a slower growing region because it doesn’t seem to be hurt as bad during a recession,” Delay said. “Large employers over in the Monadnock region make sort of an insular community. There’s a different attitude there. There’s a sense of community involvement and a sense of social capital.”

Kari Lindstrom-Quiter, who provides career coaching and job search tools to people in the Monadnock region through Monadnock Career Connections based in Jaffrey, has noticed that things pick up on a seasonal basis. Typically the fall and the spring are the busiest times of year for her, she said in a phone interview Thursday. Overall, she said she has noticed a recent trend of people getting better interviews and better jobs this year.

The fall and spring are busy because it’s partially tied to the school year, Lindstrom-Quiter said. Parents may need to seek jobs when kids go back to school in the fall, or when kids get out of school in the spring. This spring, she said, has been particularly busy in job hiring.

“I have to say that I have seen more people getting really good interviews and getting good jobs,” she said. “Most of the people I see are business professionals that have either been laid off or are looking to switch careers.”

Lindstrom-Quiter said that because this area has so many large employers, when cuts are made it generally hits pretty close to home. And sadly age discrimination is alive and well, she added, which makes it tough for some people to get back into the workforce.

The number one thing she stresses to all of her clients is to network. The more connections you have, the more likely you are to land a job.

“I see a lot more people being proactive than reactive,” Lindstrom-Quiter said. “It’s been a pretty promising year. The region is not continuing to go down.”

Job creation is on the upswing, and the housing market is finally starting to look a little better. The average price of a home in New Hampshire was $250,000 in 2007 and fell to $207,000 as of last year.

“2013 is the first year we’ve seen prices actually rise,” Delay said of the state as a whole.

Both in 2012 and 2013, housing prices in Cheshire County have risen, he said. Home sales in the state increased by 20 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to the N.H. Association of Realtors. The median home selling price increased by almost 4 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the first quarter of 2012, according to Delay’s “New Hampshire Economic Outlook.”

And while 45,000 people remain unemployed in the state, Delay said things are slowly returning to normal.

“We’re in recovery mode,” he said. “It’s a slow recovery, it’s a disappointing recovery. But we are making progress.”

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