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Numbers imply workforce is shrinking

  • Job seekers line up outside the New Hampshire Works employment security job center, Monday, May 10, 2021, in Manchester, N.H. States are pushing the unemployed to get back to work to help businesses large and small find the workers they need to emerge from the COVID-19 recession. Now some states are reinstating a requirement that anyone who collects unemployment must look for work. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm) Mary Schwalm

NH Business Review
Published: 10/22/2021 7:00:15 PM

 The number of Granite Staters collecting unemployment continues to fall, but the unemployment rate remains relatively stagnant, or stable, depending on the amount of optimism in your outlook.

This is the paradox we keep seeing in an apparently shrinking workforce

Indeed, in the latest unemployment data released Tuesday, the number of employed and unemployed Granite Staters in September each went down from the previous month, the former by 920 and the latter by 310. These are not huge numbers out of a workforce of 728,000, but it begs the question: Are these people going back to work or leaving the workforce?

The official unemployment rate itself ticked down by a tenth of a percent to 2.9 percent after rising to 3 percent in August. Of course, this is a vast improvement compared to the state’s 5.5 percent rate in September 2020 or even last month’s national rate of 4.8 percent.

There also was a pretty sharp monthly drop in unemployment claims for September. Initial claims for the month fell by 28 percent compared to August. Indeed, it was the lowest number since 2000. And continuing claims – people already collecting unemployment benefits – month fell by 41 percent for the month.

Also, according to claims data already reported in October, the trend is clear: They are definitely going down.

As for initial claims, in the week ending Oct. 16, 320 were filed, nine fewer than the week before. And in the week before that, there were 2,510 continuing claims, more than a 20 percent drop from a month earlier.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org. 

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