ESI and the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) have been commissioned by the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security to study the impact of employment constraints faced by households in the state including benefit cliffs, childcare, and labor supply as State leaders seek to accelerate recovery from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As New Hampshire aims to rebuild its employment base, households across the state face a range of potential challenges. Many residents are limited by the availability of employment due to the economic contraction from the pandemic. For some households, existing social vulnerabilities have been exacerbated by the pandemic, while others find themselves newly vulnerable and facing unexpected challenges like childcare due to availability concerns and remote schooling. Other households face difficult decisions about the short- and long-term trade-offs of returning to work due to the structure of unemployment programs and other benefit cliffs, where potential increases of earned income do not necessarily outweigh potential loss of public benefits.
The ESI team is analyzing a range of data sources, including anonymized micro-data on unemployment and other benefit program recipients to rigorously understand the household-level employment decisions faced by New Hampshire residents. Variations are being studied across geographies, household types, and sectors, informing potential policy interventions.
This ongoing work will be reported to the state and relevant working groups. Reporting will include an aggregate analysis of the impact of these constraints on the New Hampshire economy and its recovery, as well as a differentiated analysis to help policymakers target available financial and programmatic resources.