By Daymond Steer
CONWAY — Economist Greg Bird will be the guest speaker at the Mount Washington Valley Economic Council's Eggs and Issues Business Leaders' Breakfast on Thursday.
The networking portion of the meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. A light breakfast will be provided.
Bird, 34 of Dover, is an economist at the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies in Concord. He'll be speaking about the condition of New Hampshire's economy and making predictions for the year.
Previously, Bird worked as a policy analyst at the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute, where he studied the state's economy and budget.
Between 2011 and 2014, he worked at Moody's Analytics branch in West Chester, Pa., where he looked at regional economies and the housing market.
Tuesday, he told the Sus that in terms of statewide numbers — such as the unemployment rate, private sector job growth, wage growth, consumer confidence, and meals and rooms tax revenue — New Hampshire's economy looks better than it has in years. But he cautioned that that's not the whole story.
The good news in the statewide numbers, he said, "masks what's happening throughout the state, meaning that a good chunk of this economic activity is happening in the southern part of the state (Rockingham, Hillsborough and Strafford counties).
"Thus, policymakers, in thinking about levers they have to pull to sustain/accelerate economic growth, should really think about the issue at a regional level, in particular, places not reaping growth (rural parts of the state)," Bird said.
For his Eggs & Issues appearance, Bird said he plans to address Carroll County's economic performance and how it is doing compared to the rest of the state.
Other topics he will touch on includepotential public policy decisions that might affect the county (such as Affordable Care Act/Medicare Expansion monies for Memorial Hospital; reduced state "stabilization" monies for K-12 education for city/town budgets; demographics/aging of the population on future workforce needs and supply).
Bird also said he will discuss "one of the biggest challenges we at the Center think is coming for the economy: labor shortages or, put differently, the ability (or lack thereof) for employers to find workers."
A Jan. 25 posting Public Policy Studies' blog says that New Hampshire's economy has done well in 2016 relative to other states. The posting also says that New Hampshire has regained all the jobs it lost in the great recession and that wages are improving.
"New Hampshire's gross state product per capita (GDP divided by population) has grown more quickly than the nation, increasing .6 percent per year since 2006," the policy center's blog states. "And a recent federal Bureau of Economic Analysis report estimated that in the first quarter of 2016, gross state product in New Hampshire grew at an annualized rate of 2.9 percent, among the top 20 percent of states in the country."
The largest source of of the change in value of goods and services in New Hampshire came from the insurance concern. Between 2010 and 2014 the insurance industry's portion of New Hampshire's gross state product grew by $1.5 billion.
The blog adds that GDP isn't the best indicator of how people are doing in the economy but does give a sense of where the economy is heading. Another way to look at how populations are doing is to look at job growth and income.
"The single largest source of job growth in New Hampshire was in the food service and accommodations industry, which tend to be lower wage jobs," the blog stated.
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