Although the economic picture from the coronavirus pandemic is still emerging, longer-term trends are more clearly revealed by jobs data. Perhaps most notably, Cheshire County never recovered the jobs lost during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Prior to the Great Recession, Cheshire County saw a peak of 34,192 jobs in 2006. The same number fell to 31,524 jobs in 2010, and remained flat until the pandemic struck in 2020. In other words, Cheshire County lost 2,668 jobs over the course of the pandemic, most of which never rematerialized.
Other counties in Southwest NH experienced different job trends after the Great Recession. Sullivan County saw job growth beginning in 2010, but job totals peaked and began to fall in 2016. Hillsborough County, meanwhile, saw consistent growth from to 2010 until the beginning of the pandemic. None of the counties in Southwest NH saw job growth that matched the rate of statewide gains in the post-Recession period.
While there is cause for concern regarding both long and short-term job trends in Southwest NH, especially in Cheshire County, there are also localized areas of strong job growth. When looking at the town/city level, there is significant variation job gains/losses since the Great Recession. For example, both Swanzey and Jaffrey have posted double-digit job gains over pre-Recession levels, well above the statewide rate of job growth. Keene and Peterborough, meanwhile, have experienced net job losses over the same period. (You can use the interactive visual below to see additional data for all available job data for Southwest NH communities.)