Friday, September 22, 2017

NM Adds 8,600 Wage Jobs in August

As reported here last week, New Mexico added 8,600 wage jobs, on a not seasonally adjusted basis, during the year from August 2016 to August 2017. Also as reported, our unemployment now ranks third nationally. The numbers come from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.
Seasonally adjusted, the statewide wage job gain was 5,700.
State job growth continues on a good track, for us, anyway. Year-over-year growth was 7,500 in May, 15,600 in June and 8,400 in July. Given the state’s economic weaknesses and track record the past few years, I’m not willing to predict anything. It may be a dead cat bounce.
More detailed numbers came today from DWS’ Labor Market Review newsletter. See
www.dws.state.nm.us.
Albuquerque added 4,200 jobs for the year. Our other three metro areas netted no jobs during the year. That means the 26 rural counties scored 4,400 new wage jobs over the year.
For the small metros, the job score was: Farmington, – 300, Las Cruces, + 100, Santa Fe + 200.
Sidenote: there is all sorts of construction in the core of downtown Las Cruces. One corollary effect is that, as of mid-September, the location of the Chamber of Commerce was a mystery. Days before my frustrating search for the chamber, it had moved from a nearly empty Loretto Towne Centre (notice the oh-so-cool spelling) to a building, an old home, now renovated, with street exposure, but not yet a sign. Nor had my phone figured out the change.
The state added 8,400 jobs during the month August. That suggests that all but 200 of the yearly gain of 8,600 was in August. I’m not sure it quite works that way, but certainly the annual job growth has been recent as opposed to say, last fall.
By contrast, Albuquerque’s August growth of 800 jobs, while decent, was modest compared to the state. For Albuquerque’s year, Education and Health Services (EHS) led the growth with 2,100 new jobs, followed by construction (+1,500) and finance (1,200). State government lost 600 jobs during the year. Manufacturing lost 500.

Friday, September 15, 2017

July to August Employment Jump Called "Significant"

New Mexico’s unemployment rate showed real change in the year from August 2016 to August 2017 by dropping half a point from 6.8% to 6.3%. The state skipped what has been the typical tenth of a point change.
Alaska remains the unemployment rate leader followed by Washington, D.C., at 6.4%. We continue in third place, though with a greater distance from Alaska.
The change happened with a slight increase in the labor force, which grew about 2,700 during the year to 929,151, seasonally adjusted. Employment grew 6,700 and sucked around 4,800 people from the unemployed ranks, year, over the August to August year. Life isn’t entirely rosy, however. The labor force has dropped by 4,700, still seasonally adjusted, since June.
The state’s 5,700-person one month increase, seasonally adjusted, in employment was called statistically significant by the Bureau of Labor Statistics which produces the numbers. The drop in the unemployment rate, however cheery, was not significant.
Looking at the sectors, without seasonal adjustment, the biggest jump came in leisure and hospitality (L&H) with 4,000 new wage jobs over the year and total wage jobs of 102,800 for August. L&H is mostly tourism. The sector attracts sneering at the modest earnings from restaurants, hotels and small retailers. The L&H businesses spread across the state, though they concentrate in Taos, Ruidoso, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The sneerers are wrong.
The professional and business services group with 3,800 new wage jobs for the year came just behind L&H. These are the consulting engineers, software types, lawyers, accountants and landscape architects.
Construction produced 3,000 new wage jobs, year over year. Go Figure. But I read that the Facebook job outside Los Lunas has 800 people working, soon to have 1,000. But those jobs will go away within months.
The education and health services group, for some time the state’s job leader as Medicaid ramped up, produced 2,200 wage jobs over the year with a curious mix. The education part showed 2,200 new jobs and health services lost 200.
Among the metros, the labor force in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe was flat. Farmington was down.
Side note: Las Cruces has considerable construction happening downtown. Finding the chamber of commerce this week was a pain.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Jobs and Economic Diversification: Abq Journal Story of 9/11/17

Being good at her job, the Albuquerque’s Journal’s Ellen Marks, assistant business editor, decided to ask around about New Mexico’s situation with regard to growing employment and diversifying the economy. The answers from a couple of the state’s leading economists were, respectively: Not much and none. The economists were Jeff Mitchell, director of the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economist Research, and Jim Peach of New Mexico State University.
The story ran September 11.
Probably inadvertently, Marks provided Gov. Susana Martinez a place to demonstrate ignoring the issue. As was professionally appropriate, Marks asked to interview the governor. (Marks said “the Journal” asked for the interview; I presume it was Marks.) The response, quoting from the story, the Journal got, from “spokesman Michael Lonergan, ‘Unfortunately we don’t have the availability for an interview in the Governor’s calendar at this time.”
That’s absurd. If Gov. Martinez wanted to talk, there would be time to talk. Martinez kicked the bucket to economic development secretary Matt Geilsel (who I’m told is a good guy) who was stuck with saying, “the one percent growth in jobs over the past year is evidence that the state is headed in the right direction with “incremental, positive progress.”
Martinez is not appearing at the 2017 Domenici Institute conference in Las Cruces where she has been a fixture at the previous gatherings I have attended. The conference is this week, September 13 and 14.
Another gem appeared from a Martinez statement last month, “Through relentless commitment to reforms—balancing budgets, cutting taxes and streamlining regulations—we’re growing and diversifying our economy and competing for jobs and investment with neighboring states like never before —and even beating them.”
Governors like to say that balancing the state budget is a big deal, an accomplishment. Not so. In most states as in New Mexico, balancing the budget is a constitutional requirement. So a governor bragging on this is bragging on doing the job. Wow. AS to the Martinez tax cuts, I looked at them in a February column (see nmopinions.com) and found them to be much ado about very little.
A theme to the article is the ultra conventional received wisdom that recruiting companies to the state is the answer. Yes, recruiting is part of the answer. But the rest is looking at the entire state for the oft mentioned systemic issues such as the underground economy, one-person firms and financial institution capability.
Final note: Ben Cloutier said, attributing the comment to Gov. Martinez, that the movie biz had put more than $500 million into the NM economy. Over one year, or multiple years, the story didn’t say. But while $500 million is a lot of money, the state’s GDP was $93 million in 2016. So it wasn’t that big a deal. The statement also said the movie was “supporting 90,000 jobs in 2015.” That doesn’t says the movie biz employs 90,000 people. “Supporting” looks like one of those words carefully chosen to imply more than it says. If true, movies would provide more than 10% of the wage jobs in the state. I don’t believe it.

Metro Home Sales Down 11% from June

Sales peaked in June for single family detached homes in metro Albuquerque. For August the 1,092 closed sales were 136 units, or 11%, down from June. Sales of attached homes (townhouses and condominiums) also peaked in June (at 112) and dropped 21% to 96 for August. The figures are in the August sales report released today by the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors.
August closed sales were up eight units, or 0.8%, from July and nine units from August 2016.
Pending sales behaved a little differently during August, climbing back to tie April at 1,080 for the 2017 high. Even so, pending sales have been flat since March at 1,150 units, plus or minus. The increase from the 1,133 pending sales in July was 47, or four percent, and 17.2% from 1,007 in August 2016. It was 2007 when pending sales were last over 1,000 for several months.
The homes that closed during August were on the market an average of 44 days, down from 50 days in August 2016. The average sales period has been below 50 days since May.
Attached homes are selling even faster, on the market for 40 days during August, 39 days in July and 38 during June.
Both the median and average price increased, year over year, during August for metro detached homes.
The median price, $202,825 during August, was up 6.7%, or $12,825, from August 2016 and increased $3,325, or 1.7%, from July.
However, the average price dropped $382 from July to $237,532 and is down $4,869, or two percent, from the 2017 peak of $242,401 in June. The August average was up five percent from $226,322 for August 2016.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Unemployment Rate 3rd Nationally; New Mexicans Working in Texas

The headlines about the monthly jobs report from the Department of Workforce Services normally go to the number of jobs or the unemployment rate. So it was for July with the 6.3% unemployment rate mentioned first. Unmentioned, except for a table listing on page was that New Mexico’s unemployment rate, though down a half a point over the past year, remains third nationally, behind only Alaska and the District of Columbia. This detail showed in a table on page 31 of DWS Labor Market Review newsletter which was released today. The table also showed that Alaska and D.C. have done worse than New Mexico in terms of unemployment rate which has increased for both over the July to July year. The July unemployment rate was “not notably different” from June for 46 states, among them New Mexico, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
The private sector added 11,500 jobs during the year, government dropped 3,100. The net was a gain of 8,400, seasonally unadjusted. For the month, the private guys lost 2,000 jobs, government lost 8,000.
The June increase was revised down 24 percent to 15,600 jobs in the July report.
Private education added 2,600 jobs for the year, a 15 percent increase. Health services, health care and social assistance added 1,100 jobs, a 0.9 percent growth rate probably reflecting slower Medicaid growth.
Albuquerque dominated the July job report with 4,900 new jobs, year over year, or 58 percent of the total. The other three metro areas, together, produced zero new jobs.
In Albuquerque, education and health services added 2,600 jobs, 70% of the state total.
Albuquerque financial activities added an unlikely (to me) 1,100 jobs year over year for 6% growth on a base of 18,400 in July 2016. Statewide the finance gain was all of 400.
Leisure and hospitality (tourism) dropped 1,800 jobs during July, following a June increase that DWS called “unusually high.” L&H gained 2,900 for the year.
DWS put some numbers on the two-way flow of workers between New Mexico and Texas. In 2014, Lea and Eddy Counties were the only two New Mexico counties to gain workers from Texas. (Oil prices peaked in mid-2014; employment quickly followed.) Together, Lea and Eddy attracted almost 2,200 workers from Texas while Curry had 1,012 working in Texas, most of them in next-door Parmer County, but with 441 drawn to metro Amarillo and 35 driving to Lubbock.
Another example from DWS, “Over twice as many Chaves and Otero residents were working in El Paso than El Paso residents working in Chaves and Otero.”

Monday, August 14, 2017

Progressivism, Somewhat Defined

From the Weekly Standard, August 21, 2017
From a review of The Demon in Democracy by Ryszard Legutko
Reviewer: Matthew B. Crawford

"Like Fran├žois Furet before him, Legutko suggests that the key to understanding the character of life in a liberal democracy is the role that history—or rather History, understood as inevitable progress in a certain direction—plays in the liberal imagination. In recent decades, this manifested as the enthusiasm for trying to bring liberal democracy to very illiberal places using the blunt instruments of military action and marketization. But it was during the Obama era that this energy really got released onto the domestic scene for the first time in perhaps 40 years. Liberals started calling themselves progressives—a rebranding significant because it announced a new boldness in speaking an idiom of historical necessity. It announced a new impatience with foot-draggers as well...
"Willful obtuseness to social phenomena is crucial in constructing the symbolic persons at the heart of these progressive dramas, because the point of the dramas is for the progressive to act out his own virtue as one who embraces the symbol. Progressive purity, based on abstraction from social reality, sometimes has to be guarded by policing the speech of real individuals who are putatively the objects of the progressive’s enthusiasm, or the speech of those who are in more intimate contact with these individuals and threaten to complicate the picture—for example, the speech of the social worker who frankly describes the confusion and unhappiness that mark the lives of transgender people. The great march forward requires the erasure of “gender binaries,” and that is all one needs to know."

Denver Envy Still Wastes Time

In late July the Albuquerque Journal ran stories in the business section proclaiming younger adults love of Denver, the lifestyle and the economic opportunity. My letter to the editor response went to the Journal July 30. I don’t think it has run. The letter is the July 30 post, below. The stories unlocked memories of past Albuquerque junkets, commonly led by the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, to places such as Portland, Florida and Denver.
An accidental reminder of the Denver difference appeared in today’s Wall Street Journal. A story about telecommunications tycoon John Malone mentioned that his Liberty Global PLC, “the world’s biggest international cable company” was operated from “Mr. Malone’s hometown of Denver,” though it is incorporated in London.
A couple of decades ago there was Bill Daniels, a pioneer in the cable television industry. Daniels was the brother of Jack Daniels who stayed in the hometown of Hobbs and made money and did politics. Jack was father of Diane Denish, former Lt. Governor. Bill Daniels was a competitor of Malone and Ted Turner in the early cable days.
This international business infrastructure has no Albuquerque equivalent. It is an important part of today’s Denver. It makes the Albuquerque’s decades-long Denver envy a waste of time.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

July Abq Home Sales Down From June, Up From 2016

Sales of metro Albuquerque single family detached homes peaked at 1,196 in May, dropped ever so slightly in June to 1,194 and then to 1,075 in July, according to Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors, which released the July sales report today.
The pace of sales has eased. In June, 93% of the 1,279 May pending sales turned into closed sales. For July, it was 84% of June’s 1,283 pending sales closed. This rough metric assumes it takes about 45 days for a sale to close.
The 1,214 sales that were pending during July is down from 1,283 in June, which was essentially the same as the 1,279 sales pending during May. The May and June pending figures were down a bit from 1,299 in March and 1,331 (the pending peak for the year) in April.
On a year-over-year basis, pending sales remain popping. July pending sales were 29.6% above July 2016. June was 22.9% ahead of a year ago.
June’s 1,075 closed sales were just five units ahead of July 2016.
Homes continue to sell more quickly. Homes sold during July were on the market and average of 42 days, down from 46 days in June and from 48 days for July 2016.
In my neighborhood just north of UNM, two homes reduced the average days on the market. One sold to two young lawyers with a toddler grabbing their first home the day it hit the market. The other took a plodding five days. Both were early 1950s stucco on wood frame with three bedrooms and about 1,800 square feet. Couples bought both homes. The other couple, in their 40s, renovates homes, investing sweat equity and then sells.
The median sales price, $199,250 in July, dropped from $200,000 in June. The median price was $199,950 in May. The July median price was 4.9% up from July 2016. July’s average price increased $2,091, or 0.89%, from June. The average increased 5.3% from July 2016.
The inventory of homes for sale—3,566 during July—continued well under

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Policy Perspectives From Senior Democrats Diverge

The Albuquerque Journal’s Denver-envy articles and some education stories generated response in the Letters to the Editor section.
Two top establishment Democrats supplied letters that ran August 1 and 2. They offered different perspectives. Dick Minzer's view was useful and informative.
Chuck Wellborn, Albuquerque lawyer and tax expert, offered some thoughts, but no way to accomplish the platitudes and ended with a chamber of commerce rah, rah, “We need cooperation and collaboration, to knock off the name calling and to work together successfully. There’s no way we can’t accomplish this.”
Wellborn’s points included spending more money on pre-K through post-secondary education, fixing post-secondary without getting the four-year institutions out of the constitution, fixing roads with higher gas taxes, and fixing the tax system, the gross receipts part in particular. Wellborn began with a cheap shot at economic developers—professionalize our economic development efforts—his broad brush catching all developers. Wellborn should have named names such as the departed Jon Barela, now being a politician in El Paso with the Borderplex Bi-National Economic Alliance. Gary Tonjes of Albuquerque Economic Development is plenty professional and was unfairly slammed by Wellborn.
Dick Minzer also is an Albuquerque lawyer, tax expert. Minzer also is a lobbyist sometimes called “powerful” by those who make such judgments, was a state representative long ago and secretary of the Taxation and Revenue department.
Minzer considered school problems and policies at some length. His August 2 letter ran 25 inches of copy. He called for comparing New Mexico’s education performance with surrounding states, something, so far as he knows, has not been done but could be done by the three legislative education committees, state government’s education bureaucracies, the sundry business groups. Minzer poses additional worthy questions such as, “Is it too difficult and expensive in New Mexico to terminate under-performing teachers?”
Minzer’s questions are the preferable place to start. While he doesn’t say who should do the analysis to get the answers he does at least name names of organizations that claim to be interested.

Monday, July 31, 2017

What Happened to Albuquerque?

A couple of weeks ago a friend asked what had happened to Albuquerque. We had been discussing the city’s “situation.” What follows is an edited version of my response with names deleted to protect the guilty and the innocent.

I still lack a good answer, but here are a few thoughts.
1. Intel peaked around 1994 with 5,700 employees plus about that many contractors. Phillips, DEC. and Signetics went away. The support firms for the “Silicon Mesa” went away. The data analytics business in Santa Fe didn’t grow much and then faded
2. The Abq-based public companies went away: Diagnostek, Santa Fe Pacific Gold, Nuclear Pharmacy, Furr’s Supermarkets (probably not much net job loss there as we still have to have supermarkets), Sun Healthcare (run by Andy Turner).
3. Jerry Geist was finally run out of PNM in 1990, but PNM struggled for years and Abq operations remain well below the scale of when they filled two downtown buildings.
4. The banks got in trouble in the late 1980s. Sunwest was taken over by Boatmen’s around 1994 and then Boatmen’s was swallowed by Bank of America. BofA laid me off from Sunwest in 1997. Over time BofA let the NM operations erode. I don’t know why, but I have watched the numbers. Administrative functions went to staff of the big banks in larger markets. The local administrative and banking staff such as loan officers retired or left town or went to credit unions such as Sandia Labs FCU. Getting loans became more difficult. BofA keeps their trust-related attorneys in a cave in Phoenix. (long story.) Bank of Abq runs advertising and marketing from Tulsa, home to poppa, the Bank of Oklahoma.
5. The banks have largely left downtown Abq. The Hyatt was the last big building in downtown. 20 years ago.
6. The contractor population at Sandia is down.
7. The auto dealer chains are a big factor with little interest in community, at least as compared to when the stores were owned by locals.

We have become a community of branch plants (a state really). Look at the boards of the Abq Chamber and ACI. They are heavily populated by corporate government relations types, who will have no authority to take any action. Lawyers and healthcare types dominate the ACI executive committee.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Albuquerque Journal's Denver Envy

The following is a letter to the editor of the Albuquerque Journal. It was submitted in reaction to the Journal's editorial today and to the articles in the Business Outlook section that ran July 24.

The Journal asks what Denver has that Albuquerque doesn’t. Well, size to start.
Colorado’s 2016 population was 5.5 million. New Mexico’s was 2.1 million. Denver’s seven-county metro is 3.07 million. Albuquerque had 909,000 in 2016. Add 144,000 for Santa Fe.
Because of the population difference, comparing job growth (between June 2016 and June 2017 Colorado added 54,900 jobs versus New Mexico’s 19,300) is disingenuous, even wrong.
Larger size brings agglomeration, which means that more economic activity happens in the larger population metro area. There are economics of scale.
Denver is the major leagues (Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets, Avalanche). Albuquerque is AAA. The more appropriate comparison is with relatively isolated AAA cities: Des Moines, Omaha, Tucson, Tulsa. The Journal ignores this.
The Economic Innovation Group (eig.org) of Washington, D.C., says New Mexico “began the 1990s as a classic western knowledge economy that appeared primed for continued growth. But, with no major metro area and a relatively undiversified technology sector, the state fell further and further behind its neighbors over the years that followed.”
EIG also says that by percentage just four states have more people leaving.
Workers go to Colorado, says the Department of Workforce Solutions in the June Labor Market Review, 3,903 between 2007 and 2015, an outflow behind only Texas.
Denver offers a different dynamic, as the Journal’s anecdotes illustrate. My brother Tom moved to Denver in 1998 after deciding Coloradans were decent, professional and paid regularly.
It’s a puzzle, the Journal editorializes, one that “New Mexico has to put together.” The puzzle includes a host of systemic issues. An independent public policy institute would be one tool for the sorting. See capitolreportnm.blogspot.com for more.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Policy Issues Confronting New Mexico Today

Revised 2017. Prepared for discussion by Harold Morgan, syndicated columnist

Some major institutional issues (including the usual suspects, such as water, agriculture and energy) are listed alphabetically:
• A majority of Hispanics tracing their heritage to Mexico, a change revealed by the 2010 census. Cultural differences with traditional northern Hispanics.
• A state economy crossing multiple sectors and therefore not usefully measured. Generally we do science (labs to Intel) and work deriving from the land and culture (tourism, agriculture, literature, the Museum of New Mexico). Pure national defense (Holloman, Cannon) is a separate, smaller sector.
Economic activity should be identified to include everything associated with the business. Mines and smelters should go together. Aggregating everything involved with agriculture might take the sector from two percent of the economy to nine percent.
Comprehensive arts sector study released in 2014 indicates measurement approach as does the 2015 Borderplex Strategic Plan.
• Broadband (transportation of information).
• Environmentalist politics.
• Financial institution capability and role of community banks. Dodd-Frank regulations increase costs and constrain lending, more so in smaller communities.
• “Government dependence.” “Too much,” it is always alleged. In New Mexico federal activities are appropriate—border administration, land management, Indian affairs (see Native American, below). Research, itself widely varied. Military. Culture creates process orientation.
• Labor force participation. Low for decades. We are among the lowest four states in the ratio of employment to population. We don’t work. Why?
• Land use and ownership. The private sector is the biggest owner of land in the state with 44 percent. The feds own about a third of the state—34.3 percent—with the state at 12 percent and tribes with 9.4 percent. Private land ownership ranges from 6 percent in San Juan County to 93 percent in Curry County. These are old numbers and may have changed a little.
• Land use policies in Albuquerque that have largely eliminated available property for industrial buildings.
• Native American. Tribes, comprising almost ten percent of New Mexicans, are said to consider themselves ignored, not “at the table.” The Traditional Cultural Property dispute, fundamentally about theology and bureaucracy, has a major land use component. (See PERC Reports, Summer / Fall 2012, www.percreports.org or www.perc.org.) Custodial “trust” relationship with federal government, besides being racist, inhibits reservation economic activity.
• New Mexico as the nation’s number two majority-minority state.
• Non-employee businesses. Who are they? What do they do?
• Northern counties as “rural ghetto,” a result in part from the “romantic” idealization imported and promoted by Mabel Dodge Lujan a century ago.
• Population change driven by new babies. Adults provide the smaller portion of our population growth. But adults are the ones who pay taxes. Babies consume taxes. Increasing movement to other states. Population decline in 2014 and 2015 and flat in 2016 as new babies offset departures.
• Technology transfer: Being in the national defense business with an emphasis on nuclear limits development of an entrepreneurial culture. Some technology heads to the private sector. Los Alamos National Laboratory has recently restructured its approach.
• New Mexico’s Constitution. And how well does state government function from a operational standpoint?
• Transportation – highways, that is. Nine figure gap between desired construction and maintenance and money available.
• Underground or shadow economy. The only available estimate says 9.1% of New Mexico’s gross state product operates “off the books.” Where are these people? Aspects: cash only, no regular healthcare, no use of banks, inability to grow businesses. See Non-employee businesses.
• Uneducated young people. That our kids can’t read is bad enough. History courses appear to be process. Knowing the facts—who won the particular war—is necessary before the processes. A high school catalogue calls New Mexico history a semester-long survey “with an emphasis on the 20th century to the present.” The 17th, 18th and 19th centuries don’t count much.
The economics course cites “government agencies” as the first player in the “allocation of scarce resources and the economic reasoning.” People are mentioned but not markets.
• A generation or two of uneducated young people outside the system, trained by circumstances in avoiding work, and in violence and abuse and destined to pass along this scary heritage.
• Communication: Perhaps the biggest challenge. New Mexico is a big state with 77.9 million acres, or 121,335 square miles. Just over half of us live in the north central Rio Grande Valley from Belen to Velarde. The rest of us live everywhere else.
Events in one corner of the state fail to penetrate the other corner. The private sector might step up here.


Public Policy Institute Summarized

DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

A Public Policy Institute for New Mexico July 2017
(prepared by Harold Morgan, syndicated columnist, progress@swcp.com)

Purpose / Mission: To inject into the public dialogue substantive, rigorous analysis of the policy challenges facing the state backed by a communications program to ensure the policy alternatives posed get attention from citizen and political leaders.

Present Need: A business plan. Estimated cost, $20,000 plus travel.

Outcome(s)/Products: Immediate product will be rigorous exploration of issues facing the state. Intermediate: Policy actions responding to issues/problems addressed in institute report. Over time: Improvements in key measures: education, economy, institutional structures.

Stakeholders: Children. Governor and legislature (independently developed policies). People involved in policy. Institute members and financial supporters. Media (something to report). Civic and business leaders.

Structure: Private, non-partisan, non-profit. Staff: One or two.
Operating budget: $150,000. Issue research: $50,000 to $150,000 per project depending on scope.
Financing: Member dues, grants, foundations, corporate. (Fundraising professional assumed)
Board: Leading policy professionals such as senior faculty from UNM & NMSU, economics & political Science. State government senior economist (LFC?).
Activity: Two to four research reports per year. Unveiled at two conferences per year.
Communications follow up to research reports: continuous.

Marketing: Mostly free media (newspapers, TV), social media for continuing public contact.

Models: North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research (nccppr.org); Morrison Institute for Public Policy, Arizona State University; Renewing the Creative Economy of New Mexico (Arts Study), Department of Cultural Affairs, 2014. State-level policy institutes are common. Most advance an ideological agenda.

Issues: Demographics, economy, broadband, environmental, financial institution, “government dependence,” labor force/work, land use and ownership, Native American, non-employee businesses, technology transfer, state constitution, transportation (highways), underground economy, education, communication/media.

Abq Jobs Up 2% June-to-June. Workers Moving to Colorado

Metro Albuquerque added 7,600 wage jobs for a 2% increase from June 2016 to June 2017. Not bad, pretty good actually for us, but short of the stellar 2.3% and 19,300 jobs reported for the state. The other three metro areas were flat for the year with Las Cruces up 500 (+0.7%), Santa Fe up 300 (0.5%) and Farmington down 300 or 0.6%. For the 26 rural counties, subtract the metros and find that they were up 8,100 jobs for the year.
The statewide mystery increase came in finance with 1,000 new jobs, 5.5% increase on a base of 18,300 jobs in June 2016. From where?
The figures were released yesterday afternoon, July 28, by the Department of Workforce Solutions. The report is in DWS’ Labor Market Review newsletter.
New Mexico’s unemployment, 6.4% in June, remained second nationally to Alaska’s 6.8%. The District of Columbia with 6.2% unemployment is the only other area above six percent.
Sector activity in Las Cruces and Santa Fe was modest, plus or minus 100 jobs here and there. The two added 800 leisure and hospitality jobs between them.
For the month between May and June 2017, the state dropped 1,100 jobs, or 0.1%, with 6,000 additional private sectors jobs more than offset by 7,100 fewer public sector jobs. The state’s job drop concentrated in education with higher ed, down 2,800 and local ed, down 5,200. Welcome to summer.
Albuquerque’s happiness was led by education and health services (Medicaid) up 2,800, followed by leisure and hospitality, up 2,300 jobs.
State government in three metros added 900 jobs over the year with no change in Farmington. The rest of the state, therefore, was down 1,400 jobs.
This month’s Labor Market Review contains an information analysis was worker migration from 2007 to 2015.
As might be expected, we lose workers to neighboring and nearby states, Texas and Colorado especially. Also Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Montana and North Dakota. The Northwest is a big attraction with Washington and Oregon both drawing more than 1,100 workers for the nine-year period. Workers can to the state from places such as California, Illinois, Michigan Missouri and Mississippi.
DWS split the analysis into 2007 to 2010 and 2011 to 2015. As New Mexico’s economy deteriorated in the 2011 to 2015 time, worker movement changed. People moved to Arizona and California from New Mexico. Movement to Texas increased and went way up to Colorado with about a three-fold increase.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Jobs Grow 2.3%; Some Statistical Shifting Involved

New Mexico added 19,300 (seasonally unadjusted) wage jobs, or 2.3%, between June 2016 and June 2017, an amazing performance for a state that has produced year-over-year job growth—when there was job growth—of more like 0.2% for a long time.
Though New Mexico’s unemployment rate dropped, the state’s 6.4% rate remained second nationally to Alaska’s 6.8%. Our two tenths of a point decline in the unemployment rate from May was considered statistically significant by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports the numbers. The state’s increase in wage jobs from June 2016 was not considered statistically significant.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released the June job summary last Friday, July 21. DWS said, “The spike in growth is partly due to shifts in seasonality in government employment.” How much of the growth came from the statistical shuffling, DWS did not say. We will learn more come Friday the 28th when DWS unveils details in the Labor Market Review newsletter.
The private sector added 18,900 jobs, a performance DWS called “the largest gain in over a decade.” The size of this sudden improvement makes it statistically suspicious. Not that DWS is cooking the books, but I wonder about things under the surface.
The leisure and hospitality segment (mostly tourism) added 7,500 jobs over the year including 4,300 between May and June. The annual gain led all sectors. The 7.7% year-over-year gain appears a little too good to be true, as does the state’s job jump. Revisions always follow. The question will be how much revision.
For the year from June 2015 to June 2016, the state added 14,000 jobs including 5,300 in leisure and hospitality. The 2015-2016 gain was driven by education and health services (EHS) (Medicaid) which gained 9,800 jobs.
The EHS growth has dropped. The sector “only” added 3,200 jobs during the most recent year.
The 8.1% year-over-year gain in construction jobs led the sectors in percentage improvement. Construction added 3,500 jobs.
Additional good news comes with the addition of 2,600 jobs in the professional and business services sector and with the 200 of only 200 jobs, year-over-year in mining.
Manufacturing supplied bad news with the loss of 800 jobs.