Concord has been rated one of the safest and best places to live - not only in New Hampshire, but in the country.
We host a popular annual Economic Outlook luncheon thanks in part to Guest Speaker Jeffrey Fuhrer, Senior Policy Advisor and Executive Vice President for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, who joined us again this year to Keynote the event. If you have not been fortunate enough to catch one of these presentations, Jeff is perhaps one of the most knowledgeable and credentialed economists on the east coast. And though he dresses the part, his presentations do not always fit the stereotypical style you would expect from a seasoned economist. He has a quick wit and a disarming sense of humor that makes following his charts and graphs fun and entertaining.
Jeff’s 2020 presentation revealed both positives and negatives. The good news is that the economy is growing. Wages are growing at about 3% annually, ahead of inflation by at least one percent. Employment is as strong as ever. Inflation and interest rates will likely remain low. Access to capital is good. And new housing, while not yet keeping up with demand especially in our market area, is growing.
The bad news is that not everyone is benefiting from a strong economy. Income disparity continues to grow. Of particular interest was a correlation between where you were born and average median incomes. One such graphic, a census tract map of the city of Concord, indicated a significant income disparity depending upon which neighborhood you were born in. For instance, those born to low-income families in Concord’s West End neighborhood had a significantly lower income decades later than low-income folks born in Concord’s east side neighborhood during that same period of time. Research has shown that this phenomenon is consistent in other communities throughout the United States.
Jeff touched on additional social contributors to economic disparity including race and other issues. These are sobering messages that hit home in a community that has seen a significant increase in cultural diversity in the past few decades. The final piece of good news is that we are on strong footing and can look to ways to strengthen the economic standing for everyone.
Tim Sink is the President of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce. Read his posts at ConcordNHChamber.com/blog.
Incorporated in 1919, the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce turned 100 years old on October 18 and is one of the largest chambers in the state with more than 950 members. New Hampshire's state capital chamber of commerce develops economic opportunities, strengthens the business climate, and enhances quality of life in the Capital region. It is deeply invested in the local community and dedicated to shaping competitive economic development strategy, advocating for policies and projects that benefit the region, and promoting Concord as a culturally vibrant visitor destination. For more information visit ConcordNHChamber.com.