Fitch Investors Service last week affirmed the rating for the state's general obligation bonds at AA. The rating agency's move came as New Hampshire was preparing for this week's expected sale of $20 million of capital appreciation bonds.

Although the GO rating was unchanged, Fitch changed the state's outlook to "improving" from "stable."

The rating agency said in a release that the state's rating is based on its improving economy and strong gains in employment.

Additionally, residents earn an average of $22,659 per year, ninth highest in the country. The state ranked as high as sixth at the end of 1992.

New Hampshire was hit particularly hard by the regional recession that plagued New England the last few years. But the state survived the crisis, the rating agency said, by employing a tight budget and slashing state spending. Debt levels have also been kept in check.

Fitch said that the affirmed rating covers not only this week's sale, but all of the state's $619 million of outstanding general obligation debt.

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