Although New Hampshire is known as the Granite State, the production of granite and other minerals is a relatively minor part of the state’s economy. New Hampshire ranks near the bottom among the states in the value of its mineral production. Sand and gravel, which account for two-thirds of the total output by value, are found in abundant quantities throughout the state, most often in association with glacial kames, mounds of material deposited by glacial meltwater. The second most valuable mineral is crushed stone, particularly granite, which is quarried in almost all of New Hampshire’s counties. In terms of end use by value, most of the state’s mineral output is used in highway and building construction. Clays are also mined and a few gemstones are collected.
For more than a century, New Hampshire has relied on manufacturing as a major source of income and employment. The state prides itself in providing a welcoming atmosphere for manufacturing. New Hampshire does not tax personal income or sales, nor does it tax the inventory and machinery of manufactures as in some states. The tax structure combined with ready access to major New England markets has encouraged many manufacturers to locate in the state. During the 1970s and 1980s, the growth and diversification of manufacturing in New Hampshire was promoted by the development of industrial parks and state technical institutes.
A leading industry in terms of income generated was the manufacture of industrial machinery. Included in this sector is the making of computers and related products, bearings, and machinery for the paper industry. Another important industry is the manufacture of electronic and electrical equipment, including firms making printed circuit boards, electric lamps, and semiconductors.
The manufacture of precision instruments, another high-ranking industry, includes industries making electricity-measuring devices, search and navigation devices, instruments used in surgery, and optical instruments and lenses. Other leading industries include the making of fabricated metal products; the making of rubber and plastic items; food processing; printing and publishing; and the manufacture of paper products.
Factories and mills in New Hampshire are generally small. Manufacturing centers are concentrated along the river valleys in the south, particularly in Hillsborough County. Berlin and several other milling centers in Coos County have large pulp and paper industries. The Portsmouth-Kittery Naval Shipyard, once an integral part of New Hampshire’s economy, declined significantly in importance during the 1970s.
In addition to shipbuilding at Portsmouth, which began during the colonial period, the earliest manufacturing activities in New Hampshire were the production of linen, wool, and paper.
An abundance of waterpower and the state’s proximity to Eastern markets were major reasons for the development of the factory system in New Hampshire. By 1804 the state’s first carding and cotton mills were operating, and the wool and cotton industry grew rapidly thereafter. The invention of the shoe-sewing machine in 1858 gave impetus to the leather industry, which, together with woolen and cotton goods, dominated the economy of the state until the late 1940s.
In the second half of the 20th century New Hampshire faced competition from Western states in leather and paper production. The textile industry, which throughout the 19th century was the state’s leading source of industrial income, declined rapidly following the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Amoskeag Mills at Manchester, chartered in 1831 and once the largest cotton textile plant in the world, stopped operations in the 1930s. Many other mills also closed down or moved to the South, where labor costs were lower. During the late 1900s the state made a successful effort to diversify its economy. With the attraction of newer industries, the emphasis shifted from shoes and textiles to metals and machinery.
The growth in manufacturing in New Hampshire was due largely to a big influx of firms that manufacture electrical and electronic equipment, computers and computer software, telecommunications equipment, and precision instruments.
Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city, is now diversified in its industry, with factories that produce machinery and electrical and electronic products. Nearby Concord specializes in the electronics industry and printing. Nashua, the state’s second largest city, has plants that manufacture machinery and telecommunications equipment. The development of computer software is also a primary activity. The area around Portsmouth and Dover has diversified its industry, which now includes the manufacture of automobile parts and high-technology equipment. Other industrial areas center on Keene, Claremont, Berlin, and Laconia. "New Hampshire" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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