NH Division of Economic Development
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The (Economic) Blooms of Spring

            It’s the time of year when we look for signs of spring, no matter that the winter was milder than usual. On this day, it’s not hard, what with temperatures spiking into the 70s,  Town Meeting week and the maple sugaring season in full swing.

            It’s kind of the same for the state’s economy. Take a look at the news over the past week or so and the signs indicate we are emerging from the grip of an economic winter.

            For the Granite State, it was milder than it was for some of our neighbors. According to the latest report from the Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau, New Hampshire’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent in December, the lowest in all of New England (to be fair, Vermont was also at 5.1 percent). Rhode Island had the highest, at 10.8 percent, but that was down from 11.5 percent in December 2011. Nationally, the rate is 8.5 percent.

            The Seacoast got a flurry of good job news. Between Sig Sauer’s expansion to Pease International Tradeport (opening up 30 jobs) and Foss Manufacturing’s plan to add up to 45 jobs in Hampton, 75 jobs are a promising indicator for an economic bloom.

            (In a total aside, the quirky grocery chain, Trader Joe’s, announced it would open a store at The Crossings at Fox Run in Newington. No word yet on when, or how many people will be employed there, but … well … Trader Joe’s is coming!)

            At the end of the month, Nashua Community College will host a job fair (8 am to 6 pm, March 30) for the 100 stores opening at the Merrimack Premium Outlets on June 14. That’s a lot of jobs, especially for younger workers, going into the summer season.

            If you are a beer lover, you may have noted that March 5 was Kate the Great Day at the Portsmouth Brewery. It’s the one and only day every year this particular stout is available and hundreds – like over 500 – of people lined up (the first securing their places eight hours ahead of the appointed hour).

            That’s 500 or more people in Portsmouth, who, after they waited for and then savored their stout, likely went out for lunch (or breakfast), did some shopping and sightseeing and had a great Kate day out on the town.

            And finally, on our drive into work this morning, we watched a formation of Canada geese flying north – right above I-93. Just a few days ago, it would have been downright mocking, but now that the $115 million widening project between exits 2 and 3 off the deferral list, traffic, people and commerce will be able to fly (almost) as freely as those geese.