The New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies (NHCPPS) has released the NH Economic Dashboard, a report based on data collected about 50 indicators related to the state’s business climate, that is meant to help prioritize decision-making about the state’s economic and quality of life related policies.
The report, titled “New Hampshire’s Economic Climate: Key Indicators,” was asked for by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire (BIA) to help them draft a strategic business plan for the state.
For each indicator, the Dashboard ranks New Hampshire against the 49 other states.
It additionally highlights how the state’s ranking matches up against that of three neighboring New England states (Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont) and four other “comparison” states (Texas, Virginia, and the Carolinas) that BIA identified as New Hampshire’s competitors for business growth and attraction.
BIA provided NHCPPS with nine domains critical to understanding the state’s economy – business growth, attraction and retention; cultural and natural resources; education and workforce; energy policy; fiscal policy; health and health care; infrastructure; regulatory environment; and workforce housing.
New Hampshire does relatively well in categories such as cultural and natural resources (No. 4); business growth and retention (No. 7); and education and workforce (No. 14). The report gives New Hampshire an overall ranking of 11.
However, New Hampshire’s rankings for several of the 50 indicators for which data was collected, such as industrial electric prices (No. 46), and land use restrictions (No. 47), are close to the bottom.
The report also notes several of the indicators need to be looked at a sub-state level by policy makers focusing on attracting employers to specific regions within New Hampshire.
For example, New Hampshire is among the top ten states for college attainment levels. But the regional percentage varies quite a bit. Only 14.4 percent of adults have a B.A. or higher in the Great North Woods region, while the percentage in the Greater Nashua area is 38 percent.
Regional differences must also be considered when it comes to the importance of a specific industry sector for a region. Manufacturing makes up 15 percent of wages for the state as a whole, but it’s much higher for Greater Nashua (27.6 percent), and much lower for Greater Concord (8.2 percent).
The report notes that New Hampshire as a state stacks up pretty well in the Dashboard for categories such as business retention and growth against states like Texas and Virginia. However, a more ideal comparison would be between cities such as Manchester and out-of-state cities that are similar in size, demographics or mix of industries.
Such regional parsing of the data, the report says, would help policymakers narrow their focus and enable more efficient targeting of resources.
Read the full NH Economic Dashboard report – Download (pdf)