Study finds manufacturing, tech fuel N.H. economy

While New Hampshire’s high-technology industry has been known to be an economy leader for more than a decade, manufacturing – often eulogized as being long gone – has proven to be as strong as ever, with both industries propelling New Hampshire’s economic strength, according to a new report.The New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies released a study — sponsored by the Business and Industry Association and the New Hampshire High Tech Council — showing that smart manufacturing (manufacturing that uses advanced or “cutting edge” technology and processes) as well as high technology as a single sector covers some 3,700 companies in the state and employs nearly 80,000 workers, with payrolls of $6.4 billion, based on 2009 data.In fact, says the study, Granite State manufacturers now have a greater industrial output, albeit with fewer employees, than they did 20 years ago.According to the study, the percentage of compensation in the sector — which the study refers to as Smart Manufacturing High Technology, or SMHT — is greater than the state’s tourism and retail industries combined, and greater than the compensation in the health-care sector.According to the study, the SMHT sector makes up some 19 percent of total compensation in the Granite State, with manufacturing alone accounting for 15 percent. Government makes up 15 percent of the state’s total compensation, with health-care compensation at 14 percent. Retail accounts for 9 percent of New Hampshire’s salary payout and accommodation and food services total 3 percent.And while SMHT companies make up 9 percent of New Hampshire’s private-sector employers, they employ more than 15 percent of private-sector workers.Researchers found average weekly wages for those employed in the SMHT sector were $1,200 per week — 40 percent higher than the average weekly wage for all private sector employees working in New Hampshire. In fact, sector salaries were only slightly lower than before the recession and much higher than years prior to 2008.”The average compensation per SMHT employee has exceeded average wages and benefits paid in every other industry sector, including construction, health care, education, retail trade and even financial service,” said center economist Dennis Delay, the study’s author. “This is important to note because it demonstrates that New Hampshire’s affluence, high standard of living and quality of life are in large part attributable to the state’s SMHT sector.”All those jobs also spur the growth of additional jobs.According to the study, for every 100 new manufacturing jobs, there are an additional 138 indirect New Hampshire jobs, which generate another $11 million in earnings, $18 million in gross domestic product, and $1.2 million in state and local tax revenue.By comparison, the health-care industry creates 55 indirect and induced jobs per 100 new jobs, and tourism creates 32 indirect jobs.While the strength of the SMHT sector is evident, the study also found that the relative cost of doing business in New Hampshire is becoming more expensive.The full study may be viewed at — CINDY KIBBE/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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