Plymouth State University Releases New Hampshire Third Annual Globalization Report

Findings on globalization and foreign direct investment trends in NH, potential impact on economy, workforce development presented at recent virtual forum 

The impact of COVID-19 has presented New Hampshire organizations and policymakers with an unprecedented challenge, yet the time may be ideal for promoting New Hampshire to foreign businesses. This opportunity is among the findings of the 2020 New Hampshire Globalization Report prepared by researchers at Plymouth State University (PSU). Highlights from the third-annual study were shared at a virtual forum hosted by PSU and the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs (NHBEA) on Tuesday, January 19. 

The 2020 New Hampshire Globalization Report features research and analysis by Plymouth State Business Professors Roxana Wright and Chen Wu. It builds on 2018 and 2019 PSU studies concerning foreign direct investment (FDI) conducted by Wright and Wu, along with Professor Jonathan Dapra. The 2020 report examines COVID-19’s impact on trade, FDI and the New Hampshire economy, and touching on the state’s particular advantages, opportunities and challenges in attracting foreign companies to do business in the state post-COVID. 

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic makes networking, communication, and strategic thinking more crucial than ever for investment promotion professionals, economic developers, and international business researchers,” said Professor Wright. “The 2020 report reveals new areas of business opportunity and an evaluation of foreign firms’ activities in the state within the context of rising challenges to globalization before and during the pandemic. It sheds light on the future of foreign direct investment and opportunities for enhanced statewide development.” Highlights of the 2020 New Hampshire Globalization Report include: 

  • 2019 saw rising risks in globalization before the pandemic began.  
  • The U.S. exports and imports both declined in 2019 due to trade disputes between the U.S. and major trade partners. Its FDI inflows have been declining since 2016. 
  • Opposite to the national performance, New Hampshire exports continued to grow since 2015 and expenditures of foreign businesses continued to grow since 2017.  
  • COVID was a shock to the global economy – the pandemic escalated risks of international trade and transportation was hampered, further disrupting supply chains.  
  • The New Hampshire economy grew by 40.9 percent in the third quarter of 2020, ranking 8th in the U.S. New Hampshire exporters showed stable performance and resilience during the pandemic. 
  • During the pandemic, foreign firms engaged in a number of noteworthy projects and strategic activities with a significant meaning for the Granite State. 
  • Reverting to domestic production, regionalization of production networks and trade, and increasing ‘safety’ inventory stock are emerging trends in supply chain activities for 2021. 

Introduced in 2018 as the New Hampshire Foreign Direct Investment Report, the research is conducted annually by PSU professors Wright and Wu and provides a complete picture of foreign business presence in New Hampshire and analysis of the countries of origin of foreign subsidiaries represented across the state’s counties and industries. The pair created innovative indices to help state policymakers strategically allocate resources to attract FDI from various countries, and to estimate the New Hampshire jobs that could potentially be created by companies headquartered in other countries. 

“We appreciate the work of Drs. Wright and Wu,” said Taylor Caswell, Commissioner, New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs. “The data and insights provided enables the state to strategically move forward and informs companies who are growing. This partnership helps aid other companies looking to expand.” 

More than 80 scholars from higher education institutions across the globe, as well as economic development professionals, government agents and business representatives from New England, attended the January 19 virtual forum. Professors Wright and Wu were joined by Cynthia Harrington, Business Development Manager, and Tina Kasim, Program Manager, BEA; Tom Taylor, President and CEO, Foxx Life Sciences in Londonderry, NH; and Brian Ward, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Jewell Instruments in Manchester, NH. Both Foxx and Jewell do considerable business with overseas markets, but most of their manufacturing is done in New Hampshire. Both cited ongoing challenges in hiring manufacturing workers to keep up with demand, especially since the pandemic, but credit the state and BEA for their support.  

“We brought participants together in a virtual exchange to share perspectives on FDI, trade development and building business resilience, integrating general knowledge and global and regional trends into a holistic understanding of how global investments impact local economies,” said Professor Wu. 

The 2020 New Hampshire Globalization Report and the recording of the January 19 virtual forum are available at go.plymouth.edu/globalizationreport2020.