July 17. 2014 7:47PM

NH gains jobs, still not fully recovered

New Hampshire Union Leader

New Hampshire showed continued employment gains in the last year with 8,300 new jobs added, but still has not recovered all the estimated 28,500 jobs lost in the six years since the Great Recession hit the Granite State, a state economist said Thursday.

Employers reported a total 657,600 jobs last month — 1,700 fewer than when employment peaked at an all-time high of 659,300 jobs in June, 2008, economist Annette Nielsen said. The number includes only non-farm workers and is not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations.

Still, the gains are significant and consistent with the 6,000 to 8,000 annual job growth seen during the last three years, added Nielson, who works in the Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau at New Hampshire Employment Security.

“That’s still not enough to gain back all of those 28,000 jobs,” Nielsen said. “We probably need to have one more year at this pace to recover all of our jobs.”

Retail led the number of new jobs with 3,400 more people working in this sector last month compared to June 2013, Nielsen said.

That was followed by 2,800 more jobs in an area of the economy described as “administrative and support and waste management and remediation services,” a hybrid sector that includes everything from temporary employment agencies and job recruiters, to companies that provide landscaping, trash collection, janitorial, payroll and other support services.

Eating and drinking establishments, hotels and other lodging outfits gained 2,500 jobs, Nielsen said.

Manufacturing tied with transportation and warehousing with 900 new jobs each.

Sectors leading job losses year to year are:

Government, which lost 1,500 jobs; professional, scientists and technical services, which lost 1,000 jobs; construction lost 500 jobs, Nielsen said.

Nielsen acknowledged sectors leading in job losses tended to offer higher-paying, full-time positions while retail, hospitality and other sectors leading in job growth tend to pay less and hire more part-time workers.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was 4.4 percent. The preliminary rate is unchanged from May, but decreased from the 5.2 percent reported in June 2013.

While New Hampshire had the seventh lowest unemployment rate in the country, it continues to be dogged by large numbers of long-term unemployed, Nielsen said.

Defined as those unemployed for at least 52 weeks, the problem was virtually nonexistent in 2006 when their ranks numbered about 2,000, she said. Today, close to 10,000 people have not been able to get work for at least a year, she said.

Nielsen said anecdotal reports from employers are encouraging, with some saying they are not getting as many applicants for open positions and may have to be more aggressive to fill them.