Study measures economic impact of N.H. retailers

The retail industry employs more New Hampshire workers than any other industry in the state, and more than a third of those workers possess a postsecondary degree, according to a recently released study of the sector.Some 15 years ago, just under a quarter of retail employees in New Hampshire held a postsecondary degree, the study found. In fact, only four industries – health care, education, manufacturing and scientific and technical services – employ more college-educated workers in the state, it said.The 27-page study- which was conducted by Polecon Research and sponsored by the Retail Merchants Association of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association – detailed the role of retail in the state’s economy, which it said employs 92,000 people in New Hampshire.Much of the report painted a rosy picture of retail in the state, while warning of the potential consequences of imposition of a statewide sales tax (which, it acknowledged, is unlikely to be considered in the current political climate).Among the positive findings of the report was the high growth rate of retail sales in the state. In the last two decades, New Hampshire’s retail sales have grown 14 percent faster than the national average, and 27 percent faster than in Massachusetts, it found.When these sales are broken down per capita, the state also fares well. In 2007, per-capita retail sales in New Hampshire were $19,268, compared with $13,657 in Massachusetts and a U.S. average of $13,036. — KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW<

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