New Hampshire’s manufacturing sector still losing jobs

Posted April 01, 2012, at 5:06 a.m.

ROCHESTER — Hard on the heels of January jobless statistics released by New Hampshire Employment Security, come the February employment estimates based on a survey of New Hampshire employers.

These Current Employment Statistics (CES) show that there were 618,000 jobs in New Hampshire in February, which is 1,200 fewer that in January.

A closer look, though, shows that the private sector lost 4,500 jobs over the month, while government added a net 3,300, thanks to colleges and universities opening back up after the winter break.

The private sector now employs 522,200 people, which is 3,400 more than a year ago. However, four years ago, in the pre-recession month of February 2008, there were 545,200 private sector jobs in New Hampshire — 23,000 more than at present.

Two years ago, in February 2010, there were only 509,500 jobs in the state, so New Hampshire has now restored about a third of the jobs it lost in 2009 and 2010.

In February of this year, there were 20,400 people working in the Construction sector — down 600 over the month, but up 1,300 over the year — and with the mild winter, this figure might be expected to pick up a little quicker than normal.

Manufacturing, which is more impacted by economic rather than climatic conditions, now employs 65,200 people, down 500 over the month and 600 over the year.

While the construction sector employed 4,800 more people in February 2008, the manufacturing sector employed 12,200 more, and as the latter sector has been more hurt by jobs moving offshore than by the recession, restoring all those factory positions is challenging, to say the least.

The Retail sector, last month, employed 89,200 workers, down 2,400 over the month and down 800 over the year. By way of comparison, in February 2008, there were 95,500 retail jobs across the state.

The Health Care and Social Assistance subsector now employs 84,300 people which is down 1,000 workers over the month and down 200 over the year. It is one of the few gainers over the longer haul, though, for back in February 2008, there were 81,300 jobs in this subsector.

The Leisure and Hospitality sector has 59,400 employees. It includes restaurants and drinking places, accommodation, arts, entertainment and recreation. It is partly a reflection of the tourist industry, and may have been impacted by the lack of snow this winter. Even so, although down 700 jobs over the month, it is up 1,300 jobs over the year, and even has a few hundred more jobs than in pre-recession February 2008.

The Government sector, federal, state and local, is continuing to slim down. The Federal subsector had 7,200 jobs in February 2012, while the State subsector had 25,900 people and Local Government had 62,700. All are down hundreds of jobs over the year, and going back four years, Local Government has 1,500 fewer employees.

NHES has also released its preliminary Local Area Unemployment Statistics for February, and the unadjusted rate moved up a fraction over the month to 5.8 percent. A year ago it was at 6 percent. The February 2012 figure could have been better by more than half a percentage point, but for the state’s labor force increasing by 4,870 people over the year. This may be partly explained by so called “discouraged workers” beginning to search for work again, and thus reappearing on the rolls.

© 2012 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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