New Hampshire labor force hit a five-year low in April

Posted June 01, 2012, at 6:37 a.m.

ROCHESTER, N.H. — The unemployment rates for New Hampshire counties, towns and cities, released recently for April by New Hampshire Employment Security, show a marked improvement in the state’s unadjusted unemployment rate — down from 5.6 percent to 4.7 percent. But this has come about through a decline in the labor force, not through job creation. The labor force declined from 740,170 in March to 731,920 in April, and thus, despite the lower jobless rate in April, there were actually 1,730 fewer New Hampshire residents holding jobs last month, compared to March. In April, 697,280 people held jobs either in New Hampshire or in states to which they commuted (by vehicle or by Internet.)

The April 2012 unadjusted labor force number (responsible for the superficially encouraging jobless rate) for New Hampshire is the lowest labor force figure since April 2007.

April’s 4.7 unadjusted unemployment rate has kept New Hampshire in fifth place in a table of states, with only North Dakota (3.1), Nebraska (3.7), South Dakota (4.3) and Oklahoma (4.4), lower. Still languishing at the bottom of this table are California (10.5), Rhode Island (11.1) and Nevada (11.5). The April unadjusted jobless rate for the United States was 7.7 percent. Elsewhere in New England, Connecticut posted a rate of 6.6 percent, Vermont recorded 5.0 percent, Maine was at 7.5 percent and Massachusetts, 5.9 percent.

All of the numbers mentioned above are for U-3 unemployment rates, which do not take into account so-called “discouraged” workers who have not sought work in the last four weeks, and they make no allowance for people working part-time, who would like full-time jobs. Typically, U-6 rates, which do take these worker categories into account, have been running at a little more than double the U-3 rates.

Counties, towns and cities

In April, Strafford County posted an unadjusted unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, Belknap County stood at 4.8 percent, Carroll County was at 5.2 percent, and Rockingham County’s rate was 5.0 percent.

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

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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