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What is the North Country Economic Index (NCEI)?

The North Country Economic Index (NCEI) is a quarterly economic report to gauge the performance of the economy in the northern rural New Hampshire, which currently includes Coös County. The NCEI is released four times a year – in March for Winter (December, January and February), in June for Spring (March, April and May), in September for Summer (June, July and August), and in December for Autumn (September, October and November).

NCEI also tracks the economic performance of the State of New Hampshire for the purposes of comparison. Posting county and state indicators side by side makes it clear how the county’s economy fares in comparison to the state’s economy. This State Index is constructed using the same methodology and component indicators used in the construction of the County Index so that the two Indexes can be directly comparable.


Winter 2015

April 4th, 2015 by Daniel Lee

One State, but Two Economies

The economic activity decreased in Coos County in winter 2015. The County Index fell for the fourth consecutive quarter on a year-over-year basis. The pace of declines accelerated during the same period. The goods-producing sector weakened further; industrial electricity sales marked a double-digit decline compared to the same period a year ago. The broad economy faltered; both number of employed residents and wages and salaries decreased from prior year. On a positive note, more travelers came to the region and spent more; average Saturday vehicle traffic counts increased six consecutive quarters while spending at lodgings rose for the eighth straight quarter. The County’s housing market saw a sign of stabilization; although median home prices fell four consecutive quarters on a quarterly year-over-year basis, the volume of home sales rebounded and was up from winter 2014.

While the County Index declined further, the State Index inched closer to the pre-recession level. Four out of the five component indicators either exceeded or nearly reached the pre-recession level, an index of 100. The BLS’s revised employment data showed encouraging signs; the pace of increases in the number of employed residents accelerated two straight quarters. The tourism sector remained strong; both the average Saturday vehicle traffic counts and spending at lodgings were up from the same period a year earlier. The state’s housing market data painted a mixed picture; the volume of home sales rebounded and rose from the winter 2014 level, while the pace of increases in median home prices continued to slow down. Three of the four state leading indicators remained up; number of building permits was down three straight months.

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