Publisher's Note: Working Together
By Jody Reese
While many in southern New Hampshire like to pretend they live in a small town or quaint city, the reality is that we all live in a region tied together by each other’s economic fortunes. Most of us live in one town and work in another.
It’s surprising that southern New Hampshire, especially the Merrimack Valley, hasn’t created an economic development coalition similar to ones in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio to market the region as a whole. The trend here seems to be localized efforts such as the new effort in Derry to put together an economic development district.
Competing against northern Virginia can be tough, but it can be done. Southern New Hampshire as a whole has a lot to offer. While a Nashua or Manchester may not have a lot of buildable land, a Canterbury or Chester does and may be a perfect spot for a large employer. Nashua and Manchester would benefit from the nearby jobs.
New Hampshire’s obsession with property values makes cooperation difficult because tax-needy towns want the building in their tax valuations. While that’s understandable, it stands in the way of the area’s prosperity. Area chambers could easily start the ball rolling by merging their marketing kits to include a regional pitch to potential businesses. Southern New Hampshire is a great place to live and do business. Together we can let more of the country know that.
Each week I’m going to be highlighting some good economic news. I don’t want to gloss over the hardship many are sharing now, but with the constant drumbeat of bad news from the 24-hour opinion channels I figured we could all use some good news on the economic front. Good economic news for the week: New Hampshire’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 percent (not seasonally adjusted) from a high of almost 8 percent earlier this year. Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont all saw similar declines.