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.
The economic activity decreased in Coos County in fall 2014. The County Index fell for the third consecutive quarter on a year-over-year basis. The broad economy faltered; number of employed residents fell three straight quarters at an accelerating pace while wages and salaries also decreased for the third quarter in a row. The goods-producing sector weakened; industrial electricity sales decreased two consecutive quarters on a year-over-year basis. On a bright side, the tourism sector continued to expand; average Saturday vehicle traffic counts increased five consecutive quarters while spending at lodgings rose for the seventh straight quarter. The County’s housing market fell further; both housing sales and median home prices were lower than their fall 2013 levels.
The State’s economic growth slowed in fall 2014. Although the State Index increased for the 17th consecutive quarter on a quarterly year-over-year basis, the slowdown is evident in all component indicators. The industrial sector lost steam; although industrial electricity sales grew 11 consecutive quarters, its pace of growth fell two straight quarters. A similar trend was reflected in the labor market; the pace of increases in the number of employed residents decelerated since spring 2014. The tourism sector wasn’t an exception; the growth rates of both traveler spending at lodgings and average Saturday vehicle traffic counts were almost halved from their winter 2013 growth rates. However, all this may not mean an impending recession; the state economy’s leading indicators all pointed to a brighter future. The state’s housing market continued to cool off; the volume of home sales declined for the second straight quarter.