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Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What is the legal minimum wage in New Hampshire?
Per RSA 279:21 the minimum hourly wage in New Hampshire became $7.25 on and after September 1, 2008. For more information, contact the NH Department of Labor at (603) 271-3176 or 1-800-272-4353 (ask for wage and hour division).

2. My employer says they cannot afford to pay minimum wage. Is that legal?
Generally no, but there are a few exceptions to the established minimum wage. Tipped employees must receive 45% of the applicable minimum wage. Employees engaged in household labor, domestic labor, farm labor; outside sales representatives; employees of summer camps for minors; newspaper carriers, non-professional ski patrol, and golf caddies are exempt. Those 16 years of age or younger shall receive not less than 75% of the applicable minimum wage. For other exemptions, contact the NH Department of Labor at (603) 271- 3176 or 1-800-272-4353 (ask for wage and hour division).

3. How much do other people who are in my line of work make?
The Occupational Employment Statistics program surveys employers to provide an annual report of wages paid for roughly 600 different occupations.

4. How do I find out what other companies pay their employees?
New Hampshire law requires that the Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau (ELMIB) holds any information on employment and rates of pay provided by specific employers strictly confidential. Under the provisions of federal law, data on individual firms gathered for statistical purposes through state-federal cooperative programs cannot be made public by ELMIB. The Occupational Employment Statistics program publishes hourly earnings data by occupation, and the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program produces average weekly wages by industry.

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5. What is the average wage for Workers' Compensation purposes?
Effective July 1, 2013, the average weekly wage for employment in private business and state and local government is $922.14. This figure is adjusted annually. For more information, contact the NH Department of Labor at (603) 271-3176 or 1-800-272-4353.

6. What is the "cost of living" increase or "rate of inflation?"
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does a survey of prices and releases, monthly, the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI includes over-the-month and over-the-year comparisons. Many businesses base cost-of-living raises on the CPI; and the cost of living adjustments of many federal programs are tied to this index. Economic Conditions in New Hampshire reports on monthly revisions to the CPI.

7. What is the average income for people living in my city or town?
At the city or town level, per capita income data are available in the decennial US Census. The Census Bureau makes annual estimates for the state and counties. For more income data, go to NHetwork, New Hampshire's Economic and Labor Market Information Data System. Community Profiles on the ELMIB web site also gives a summary of statistics for individual cities and towns in New Hampshire based on the 2000 decennial census and other data sources.

8. How many people in New Hampshire are considered poor?
In 2008, 7.8 percent of New Hampshire residents fell below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This represented an estimated 100,000 persons out of an estimated population of 1,316,000.

9. Where do I find information on prevailing wages for foreign labor certification?
Contact the Foreign Labor Certification Program of New Hampshire Employment Security at foreigncert@nhes.nh.gov, or visit the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration Foreign Labor Certification web site.

10. Where do I find information on prevailing wages for construction workers involved in government projects?
The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor determines prevailing wage rates to be paid on federally funded or assisted construction projects covered by the Davis-Bacon Act. The U.S. Department of Labor provides a web site to assist in prevailing wage determination.

11. How many businesses are there in New Hampshire? How many people do they employ?
The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program compiles statistics on employing units and employment from the quarterly reports provided by New Hampshire employers that include the number of people working for them and the wages they received for that employment. This information is available on our web site at the Covered Employment and Wages (QCEW) page.

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12. What are the largest companies in New Hampshire?
State and federal laws require ELMIB to hold data on individual firms in strict confidence; however, other sources do make that information available. A public librarian might direct you to the New Hampshire Business Review's Book of Lists or Tower Publishing's Manufacturing Directory, or other such publications.

13. What companies are hiring?
Job seekers may search NH Employment Security's Job Match System for companies that have posted job openings.

14. How many people in New Hampshire are employed? Unemployed? What is the unemployment rate?
Every month the Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau releases Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) with the number employed, unemployed, the civilian labor force, and the unemployment rate. The report includes not seasonally adjusted data for the state, its 10 counties, its 27 labor market areas, and 53 of its cities and towns. The U.S. rate, the rates of the other New England states, and the New Hampshire seasonally adjusted rate are also given.

15. Who is considered part of the labor force?
The labor force includes all persons 16 years of age and over who are employed, or unemployed and actively seeking employment. Those involved in a labor-management dispute are also included. The "civilian labor force" excludes members of the armed forces and the institutionalized population. Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

16. Who is considered unemployed?
Unemployed persons are the number of people who are not employed but are actively seeking work. Included are those who are waiting to be called back from a lay off or are waiting to report to a new job within 30 days. Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

17. How does New Hampshire's unemployment rate compare to other states?
Every month, the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) staff posts a ranking of state unemployment rates, both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted on the ELMI web site.

18. How many people in New Hampshire work part time? How many in my city or town?
New Hampshire had an estimated 142,700 individuals who usually worked part-time work in 2013, the latest year for which data is available. Current Population Survey, a joint effort between the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Census Bureau, unpublished data. This information is not available at the local level.

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19. What's the difference between non-farm employment and labor force employment?
Non-farm employment is estimated based on the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey of business establishments, and represents a count of jobs by place of work. Labor force employment is based largely on a household survey, the Current Population Survey (CPS), and represents employed persons by place of residence. Therefore, a person with two jobs counts once in the labor force estimates, but twice in the CES survey. Similarly, a person who resides in New Hampshire but commutes to work in another state is not counted in New Hampshire CES employment (their workplace job is in another state), but they are counted in the New Hampshire Labor Force employment (because they are working, and are a resident of New Hampshire).

20. I need to complete an Affirmative Action Plan. Where can I find the information I need for this report?
We provide a series of tables on our web site to assist in this process.

21. Where do I get copies of the workers' rights posters that must be displayed at my place of business?
For a copy of mandatory state and federal posters, visit the NH Department of Labor web site or call 1-800-272-4353.

22. Where do I find information about employment discrimination?
Discrimination issues are handled by the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights as mandated by RSA 354-A.The Commission may be contacted at (603) 271-2767. For further information, contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission toll free at 1-800-669-4000 (TDD 1-800-669-6820).

23. Who do I call for information about Workers Compensation?
Workers Compensation issues are handled by the NH Department of Labor. The Workers' Compensation Division may be contacted at (603) 271-3176 or 1-800-272-4353.

24. Where do I find information about workers' rights in New Hampshire?
Title XXIII-Labor, of the NH Revised Statutes Annotated governs labor relations in New Hampshire.

25. Where can I find information about careers and future jobs in New Hampshire?
ELMI's Career Resources page provides a variety of career development resources, such as information on education, occupations, and careers.

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New Hampshire Employment Security (NHES)
45 South Fruit Street  |  Concord NH 03301  |  603-224-3311  |  1-800-852-3400
TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964
webmaster@nhes.nh.gov for web page related issues only