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New Hampshire Economic History


New Hampshire landscape
New Hampshire landscape

From colonial times until the early 19th century, agriculture was the principal economic activity in New Hampshire. However, as waterpower and transportation facilities developed, numerous small factories moved into the state. From 1830 to the present the proportion of the labor force engaged in agriculture has dropped from 83 percent to 2 percent. At first textiles were the chief products of the state’s industries, but by the late 1990s machinery, electronic equipment, and precision instruments had become the principal manufactures. New Hampshire’s charm and numerous opportunities to enjoy the outdoors draw people from throughout New England, and tourism has become an important economic activity.

New Hampshire had a work force of 711,000 people in 2008. The largest share of the work force, 35 percent, was employed in the diverse service sector, doing jobs such as working in restaurants or programming computers. Another 22 percent worked in wholesale or retail trade; 12 percent in manufacturing; 15 percent in federal, state, or local government, including those serving in the military; 16 percent in finance, insurance, or real estate; 4 percent in construction; 22 percent in transportation or public utilities; and 2 percent in farming (including agricultural services), forestry, or fishing. Only 0.2 percent of the labor force worked in mining. In 2007, 10 percent of New Hampshire’s workers were members of labor unions. "New Hampshire" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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