President Joe Biden might learn a thing or two from New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu.
For the month of April, job gains around the country were expected to be near the 1 million mark. Instead, the jobs report fell staggeringly short at just 260,000. At the same time, the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 6.1 percent, despite economists projecting a significant decline.
In New Hampshire, however, employment is soaring. In April, the unemployment rate fell to just 2.8 percent, the lowest it’s been since the pandemic began, and tied for the lowest in the country with Nebraska, Utah, and South Dakota. That’s down from its peak in April 2020 0f 16.3 percent.
New Hampshire was repeatedly at or near the top of state employment rankings in the months leading up to the COVID-19 lockdown, as well as top rankings for its pro-grown economic environment.
The Republican Governor’s Association praised Sununu’s performance.
“Thanks to Governor Sununu’s strong leadership, New Hampshire has the lowest unemployment in the nation and has overcome the disastrous policies of Joe Biden and big government Democrats,” RGA Spokesperson Chris Gustafson told NHJournal on Friday. “Granite Staters can rest assured that with Governor Sununu at the helm, the best is yet to come for New Hampshire.”
Vermont came in a tight second at 2.9 percent, and Maine had 4.8 percent. Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island didn’t fare quite as well, with rates of 8.1 percent, 6.5 percent and 6.3 percent respectively.
Sununu isn’t the only Republican Governor to find success as of late. 17 out of the 20 top-performing states at recovering jobs lost during the pandemic are led by Republicans.
So what might be causing New Hampshire’s success?
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, New Hampshire balanced public safety with keeping our economy open while providing over $500 million in relief funds to small businesses and self-employed individuals across the Granite State,” Governor Sununu said in a statement. “Thanks to our smart investments and public health decisions made based on the data, we kept New Hampshire families safe without sacrificing the health of our economy, and today’s jobs report shows that we’ve done it better than anyone.”
“It’s going to be a booming summer in New Hampshire that only further builds upon our economic success. New Hampshire is open for business.”
It appears the balancing act is working for New Hampshire, as it boasts the lowest unemployment numbers in the nation, while keeping daily coronavirus cases below the national average at just eight cases per 100,000 residents. In the last two weeks, New Hampshire’s cases have gone down 46 percent.
New Hampshire’s coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths are below the national average as well.
Nationally, New Hampshire is in the top five states for first vaccine doses administered, with 62 percent of the population having received at least one shot as of Thursday.
Sununu was widely criticized for being the last New England governor to impose a mask mandate. His critics spoke out again in March when he became the first in the region to revoke capacity limits and the statewide mask mandate, allowing retail operations to operate at full capacity.
And yet New Hampshire has the eighth-lowest COVID death rate in the nation, despite also having one of the oldest populations. That’s slightly higher than Maine and Vermont, but far lower than the rest of New England.
Connecticut and Rhode Island are the only other states in the region that have allowed full capacity, although the eased restrictions just started this week. Maine and Massachusetts are dropping restrictions next week, and Vermont is planning on waiting until the Fourth of July, although Governor Phil Scott said that if 80 percent of Vermonters get at least their first dose, he will drop “any remaining restrictions and mandates that day.”