Between 1997 and 2007, Keene’s total employment base has increased by about 5%. Most of the net growth has occurred in service sector employment while goods-producing jobs declined by about 11%. Keene’s 6.1% employment growth since 2000 exceeded the County’s 4.6% and the State’s 4% growth rates (RKG, 2009). The median household income for the City of Keene in 2008 was estimated at $49,649. Although the overall median household income and non-family income in Keene were both lower than the Cheshire County median in 2007 and 2008, median family income in Keene for these years was higher than Cheshire County. Family households make up about 57% of the total households in Keene (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 and 2008).

Income and Employment: 

Overall, the median income for all household types is $37,033. Family households, which
constitute 56.8% of all households, have a median income of $49,935. The median household income is below that of both Cheshire County ($42,382) and the state ($49,467). Family income is relatively consistent with Cheshire County ($51,043), but is $7,640 below the state median ($57,575) (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).

As of 2010, the four largest employers in Keene are Cheshire Medical Center / Dartmouth Hitchcock-Keene, Keene State College, C&S Wholesale Grocers and the Keene School District (Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce). This is reflected in the American Community Survey (2006-2008) estimates which indicated that the largest industry in Keene is Education, Health and Social Services (27.6%) (Table 4).

Poverty and Unemployment:

In 2008, the national poverty threshold for a family of four was $22,025. According to the American Community Survey (2006-2008), 6.7% of families were below the poverty level in Keene; 9.6% of families were below the poverty level nationally. In Keene, 14.4% of individuals were below the poverty threshold while, nationally, 13.2% were below the poverty threshold (U.S. Census Bureau 2006-2008 American Community Survey Selected Economic Characteristics).

Keene’s unemployment rate has remained below county, state and national levels despite, and as a result of, increases on all levels. While Cheshire County has begun to reflect state averages, Keene has stayed below both (Table 5).