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NH unemployment holds at 2.7 percent, third lowest in U.S.

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 21. 2018 12:14AM

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate held steady at 2.7 percent in June, the third lowest rate in the nation following Hawaii and North Dakota.

The Granite State added 2,540 jobs from May 2017 and 9,020 from June 2017, according to the Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau.

“It looks like nothing happened when the unemployment rate stays the same, but that’s not true because we gained more than 9,000 people in the labor force,” said Annette Nielsen, an economist with the bureau. “It’s really a strong job growth across many sectors.”

The low unemployment rate is causing headaches for many businesses, though, as they struggle to find qualified people to fill openings.

“It’s definitely a double-edged sword and it’s been this way not just since (last) June, but for years now,” said Tim Sink, president of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a real challenge for employers to fill jobs and it doesn’t seem to be getting better.

“I think it’s a threat,” he added. “So far we’ve seen some pretty good growth and new businesses in our region, but if this trend continues, we will not see expansions in New Hampshire, we’ll see businesses look to other states.”

In a statement released earlier this month following the announcement that a record 735,540 Granite Staters are employed, Gov. Chris Sununu credited his administration’s policies for making New Hampshire the “fastest growing economy in New England.”

“I am proud that through our pro-growth initiatives, more people are working in New Hampshire today than at any other point in history,” he wrote. “A strong, thriving workforce is necessary for our broader goals to boost economic development and I look forward to continuing our work to again be the jobs engine throughout the region.”

Hillsborough County had the most advertised job openings in the state (7,373) as of July 19, according to data from the Department of Business and Economic Affairs’ Office of Workforce Opportunity, followed by Rockingham County (4,940), Merrimack County (2,404), Grafton County (2,245), Strafford County (1,617), Cheshire County (1,211), Belknap County (832), Carroll County (624), Sullivan County (526), and Coos County (501).

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