Governor John Lynch today announced New Hampshire's unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest point in 2½ years. The state's unemployment rate for April was 4.9 percent, the first time the rate has been below 5 percent since December 2008.
The April rate of 4.9 percent is down from 5.2 percent in March. New Hampshire continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. New Hampshire's unemployment rate in April is 45 percent below the national average of 9 percent.
"This is tremendous news for our workers, our businesses and our state. The unemployment rate continues to drop steadily here in New Hampshire, as we continue to lead the nation in economic recovery," Governor Lynch said. "The reason New Hampshire is outperforming virtually every other state is because was have a successful economic strategy in place. New Hampshire is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, with the lowest state taxes, and we must continue to follow the principles of our strategy if we are to continue moving New Hampshire forward.
"There are still a number of men and women who are out of work, who want a job and we must continue to work to help get more of our people back to work," Governor Lynch said.
To continue the state's efforts in getting more New Hampshire people back to work, Governor Lynch has signed into law an expansion of his innovative jobs initiative that will help more unemployed workers re-enter the workforce.
Last year, Governor Lynch created New Hampshire Working, a three-part jobs program designed to help companies and workers avoid layoffs, help unemployed workers return to work and provide training to help workers get new jobs.
The Governor signed Senate Bill 62, which expands the program to workers who have exhausted their unemployment benefits. By participating in New Hampshire Working, these workers will get a chance to participate in up to six weeks of training at a potential new employer, giving them a foot in the door and a chance to show an employer they have the skills and talents that are being sought. Prior to passage of Senate Bill 62, only those workers collecting benefits could participate. This new law expands the program to allow those who have exhausted their benefits to participate as well. To date, 73 percent of those who have participated in this part of the program have been hired full time.
"The time is right to expand this program as more and more companies are looking to hire," Governor Lynch said. "By expanding New Hampshire Working, we can help open the doors to employment for more New Hampshire workers."
"New Hampshire Employment Security requested that this legislation be introduced because we recognized the need to expand New Hampshire Working in an effort to assist all of our people in getting back to work. We look forward to implementing this change and making this highly successful program available to all jobseekers," said Department of Employment Security Commissioner Tara Reardon.
Senate Bill 62 was sponsored by Sen. Nancy Stiles; and Reps. Will Infantine, Christopher Nevins, Kevin Sullivan and Donna Schlachman.