NH unemployment rate rises to 2.2%, off historic lows

Oct. 18 – The state wants to fill 185 vacant positions for workers to maintain its highways and offers an extra $5,000 to hard-to-hire plow operators.

“This is a (new) incentive for existing employees and for new hires who work in the winter season and plow,” said Richard Arcand, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

The state had 120 openings for highway maintainers last year, up from 185 now. The majority of these openings are for people who drive large snowplow trucks. Overall, the DOT has 371 total openings across the state in various fields, including heavy equipment mechanics and structural engineers.

The news comes as New Hampshire’s unemployment rate rose to 2.2% in September after remaining at a record high for three consecutive months over the summer.

The number of unemployed even increased by 1,000 from August to September.

That’s actually good news, according to the deputy job security commissioner.

“This indicates that they are actively seeking employment,” Rich Lavers said in an email.

“It’s still an incredibly competitive job market that favors job seekers, but bringing back more than 1,000 people looking for work is a testament to the strength of New Hampshire’s economy,” he said. he declares.

A state-sponsored virtual job fair drew 143 registered job seekers on Tuesday, as well as 50 registered employers with more than 4,000 open positions.

A Granite Stater said the jobs tended to be more blue-collar than the white-collar options he was looking for.

Overall, the man said he was “quite confident” to find a job soon.

“I think unemployment is low,” said the man, who declined to be named.

Jobseekers who come to the Chameleon Group in Dover sometimes arrive armed with wage demands.

Others are waiting for positions where they can work from home.

“I think potential employees have the upper hand,” administrative assistant Samantha MacDougal said at the job fair.

From June to August, the state recorded its lowest unemployment rate in 46 years of record keeping – 2% – just over two years after the jobless rate hit a record 16.2% then that the pandemic has shut down parts of the economy.

The 16,610 unemployed residents in September were better than the 24,000+ unemployed in September 2021.

The Department of Transportation hopes to attract both experienced drivers and people who can be trained to obtain their commercial driver’s license to operate large snowplow trucks.

Hiring drivers with this type of permit “has been very difficult,” Arcand said. “CDL and other drivers are in high demand.”

At the job fair, Becki Kula was looking to fill up to a dozen jobs at five stores, including four in New Hampshire: Craghoppers in Merrimack and North Conway and Regatta Great Outdoors in Manchester and North Conway.

“Most people come from old jobs,” Kula said.

Asked about the ease of hiring, Kula said, “I would say probably like most employers, it’s a bit difficult now.”

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