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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.


Summer 2015

October 4th, 2015 by Daniel Lee

Tourism Lone Champion for Coos Economy: Is It Enough?

The Coos economy’s reliance on traveler spending has deepened during summer 2015. While the tourism industry’s contribution to the region’s economy is vital, it may need some help. The revised data show that the County Index decreased six quarters in a row. The tourism sector remained strong, and the year-over-year percentage increase in spending at lodgings rose for the 10th consecutive quarter. However, the rest of the economy struggled. The labor market showed troubling signs. The County’s unemployment rate of 3.9%, the lowest for August since 2007, disguises the seriousness of the unemployment situation. The seemingly remarkable unemployment statistic was a result of the aging population and net out-migration, rather than job growth. The County’s labor force has drastically declined since 2010, marking a near 8% decline. This appears to be a matter of the lack of job opportunity. Wages and salaries decreased for the sixth consecutive quarter on a year-over-year basis. The County’s housing market continued to stabilize, as the pace of declines in median home prices was the slowest since spring 2014, and the volume of home sales increased three straight quarters.

The state’s economic growth gained momentum during summer 2015. The State Index increased for the 20th straight quarter on a year-over-year basis. The pace of increases in the Index was the fastest since the Great Recession. Four out of the five component indicators were up compared to the same period in 2014. The labor market continued to expand; the number of employed residents grew at a pace unseen since the Great Recession. 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 revitalized; the volume of home sales bounced back to a double-digit growth and the pace of increases in median home prices rose two straight quarters. Three of the four state leading indicators remained up.

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