March 2012

April 1st, 2012 by Daniel Lee

Warm Weather Dampened the Tourism Industry


In February, the Coos Index fell for the 10th consecutive month on a monthly year-over-year basis. The percentage decline was the largest since October 2009. All four available indicators fell on a monthly year-over-year basis. The unusually warm weather dampened the expansion of the tourism industry. Estimated rooms and meals revenues, the only indicator that is up from the pre-recession level, declined for the first time since November 2009 on a monthly year-over-year basis. The manufacturing sector continued to struggle; industrial electricity sales fell nine months in a row. The labor market showed no signs of sustained improvement; both number of employed residents and estimated wages and salaries remained down from prior year. Data on Saturday traffic counts has not been released since the last year.  The New Hampshire Department of Transportation explained that they were experiencing some technical difficulties with the traffic recording equipment. The Index was computed assuming no change in Saturday vehicle traffic counts from last December.

The revised data, after the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security’s annual benchmarking activities, showed that the strength of the State economy’s recovery had not been as strong as previously reported. In February, the State Index grew eighteen months in a row on a monthly year-over-year basis. But the pace of the growth ticked down for the second month in a row. The labor market grew but showed some signs of strain; number of employed residents increased on a monthly year-over-year basis, but its pace of growth declined for the first time since May 2011. Although it’s still too early to tell, the decline in the growth is worrisome considering that the level of employment still remained below the prerecession level and the current growth rate was only 1% compared to 1.9% at the peak of the 2001-2007 expansion. The manufacturing sector remained a major drag on the recovery; industrial electricity sales fell five months in a row on a monthly year-over-year basis. The housing sector, despite the increasing volume of home sales, was yet to see a turnaround in home prices. The sustainable recovery entails a boost from the broader economy.

The real estate market analysis can be found at the end of this report.

March 2011

April 1st, 2011 by Daniel Lee

Long Road to Recovery

In February, the Coos economy struggled to stay on course to recovery. Four out of five component indicators fell from prior month, January 2011, although the same number of indicators was up from prior year, February 2010. It indicates that, while the county economy remained on the long-term growth path, recovery would be long and slow. A strong recovery would require a robust rebound in the labor market. In February, number of employed residents continued to fall, while estimated wages and salary disbursements posted a year-over-year gain for the first time since the latest recession. All other sectors – manufacturing and hospitality – remained strong compared to prior year. Both indicators of the hospitality industry – estimated rooms and meals revenues and the average Saturday vehicle traffic counts – kept expanding on a year-over-year basis. As a sign of a rebounding manufacturing sector, industrial electricity sales remained up from a year earlier.

There was little sign of change in the State economy’s strong rebound it’d shown since the last recession. The State Index advanced six months in a row on a year-over-year basis. More impressively, the pace of increase has been on the rise as well. All five component indicators unanimously point up to improving economic conditions. All remained up from where they were a year ago. However, uncertainties around the proposed budget cuts and large layoffs in the state and local governments could impact the recovery down the road. The struggling real estate market remains as a threat to recovery as well.

The real estate market analysis can be found at the end of this report.

March 2010

March 31st, 2010 by Daniel Lee

Devastating windstorm put a brake on recovery.

In February, a massive windstorm put a damp on the economy that would otherwise have shown stronger forces of recovery. The Coos Coincident Index inched down, for which a plunge in industrial electricity sales was largely responsible. During the power outage, productive activity came to a halt. Otherwise, March report would have posted a brighter picture of the County economy. Labor market continued to rebound as the number of the employed rose. Real estate market jumped although modestly. The picture in hospitality industry was mixed; rooms and meals revenues fell while the average Saturday traffic counts were up.

On the other hand, the State economy continued its course to recovery, despite the windstorm and power outage that swept the entire State. Labor market continued to rebound. Both the number of people with a job and estimated wages moved higher. Hospitality industry also exhibited signs of improvement. Rooms and meals revenues remained strong while the average Saturday traffic counts rebounded sharply. However, housing sector did not fare as well. Home sales continued to fall in recent month, which was contributed by the expiration of the first-time home buyer tax credit in November. A positive effect of the credit extension is not expected until spring.

As NCEI still is being shaped during the first trial year, new features may be found every month. Newly added in March is a special report on the housing market. It will likely be a semi-annual report and should be up on the Web by the first Monday in April. In addition, the About page is revised to include a variety of community-level data sources for anybody interested in the North Country.