Monday, November 20, 2017

Abq Trash Official Wrong About Trash Bin Placement, Trash Bin Placement Rules Are Fantasy

Via D’Val Westphal, the Albuquerque Journal’s road and traffic columnist, we hear from Diane Winkler, marketing manager / public information for the Albuquerque Solid Waste Department, that “the city ordnance for Solid Waste does require that trash and recycle bins be placed back on a resident’s property 24 hours after service pick up. In addition, the trash and recycling bins cannot be put out on the curb more than 12 hours prior to service pick up.”
The one requirement is generous. It allows bins to be left out over night.
The requirement about taking out the bins is one of those bureaucratic unenforceable fantasies standing against reality. On my block a good many of the bins are placed in the street the night before pickup. This makes sense. People have jobs and children. Putting out the trash bin is about a ten minute chore that could blow a hole in tightly scripted morning tasks.
In any case, how would the city enforce the rule—have trash bin cops cruise neighborhoods? Burglars, not to mention murderers, rank much higher on the law enforcement list.
Ms Winkler talks about putting the trash bins on the curb. This is wrong. Look around a while on the city’s website and you will find, “Place your cart in the gutter near your driveway with the wheels against the curb by 7 am on your scheduled pick-up day. Place your container 5 ft away from all obstructions.
The website lists a hierarchy of violation actions starting with “1st violation will be documented.”
I keep my trash bins in the yard. They are nearer to the door and I don’t have to look at them, a good thing since the bins are really ugly.

Friday, November 17, 2017

NM Adds 13,200 Jobs

Statistical significance appeared in the performance of the New Mexico economy during October, all of it in a good way.
Employment grew by 13,200 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis between October 2016 and October 2017. That’s 1.6% growth, fairly amazing all in all. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the state’s Department of Workforce Solutions released summary job statistics earlier this afternoon. The BLS makes the judgments about significance.
Also getting the significance blessing was the year-over-year unemployment rate drop from 6.8% to 6.1%. The unemployment rate remains two points above the national 4.1% unemployment, which also is a significant difference. Our unemployment rate remains third nationally behind Alaska (7.2%) and the District of Columbia (6.6%).
The gain was 13,100 wage jobs on a not seasonally adjusted basis. That split among 13,900 new private sector jobs and loss of 800 government jobs.
The federal government added 200 jobs over the year. The state netted a 200-job loss including 300 fewer in education. Local government dropped 800 jobs including 100 in education.
The sector gainers were led by leisure and hospitality (tourism), up 4,000 jobs, professional and business services, up 3,500 jobs, and construction, presumably aided by the Facebook project outside Los Lunas and up 2,100 jobs.
Education added 1,400 jobs. Retail trade, transportation and finance each gained 1,100 jobs over the year.
Mining continued the losses, down 800 jobs over the year.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Oct. Homes Sales Up 16% From Year Ago

The sale of 970 single-family detached homes closed in metro Albuquerque during October. The performance was a 31-unit, or 3.1%, drop from September. October sales increased 134 units, or 16%, from October 2016.
The homes took an average of 46 days to sell, eight days, or 14.8%, faster than the year-ago period.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the September sales report last Friday, November 10.
Townhouses and condominiums sold even faster. The average sales period was 43 days. October saw the sale closed on 177 homes, the second highest sales month of 2017 and 27% more than October 2016.
Home prices were higher during October than a year ago, as might be expected during a time of increasing sales. Pries have fairly stable for about six months.
The median sales price was $199,450, a 5.5%, or $10,450 increase during the year. The median sales price has been around $200,000 since May.
For the average price, it was $237,286 during October, a one-year increase of nearly $20,000, or 8.7%. Excepting a one time jump to $242,000 in May, the average has been about $236,000.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Amazon Cross Border Proposal Gets Attention

Amazon received 238 proposals for the location of its new headquarters. One was in two countries, Santa Teresa, New Mexico, and San Jeronimo, and San Jose del Sol, in Chihuahua, Mexico. The communities together are the, “Los Santos Binational Community.”
It consists of a proposed 100-acre site in each country, a special-use port of entry, and a unique hexagonal design, according to the November 2 NM Partnership Border Region Business Update newsletter.
The Seattle Times, MSN, CNN Money, Business Insider, the Huffington Post/Mexico and USA Today have covered the proposal.
The website is

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Supply and Demand in San Antonio

The village of San Antonio, nine miles south of Socorro, has attractions. It is the gateway to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge and offers a couple of famous burger places—the Owl CafĂ© and the Buckhorn. It also has the San Antonio Crane Family Restaurant.
We found the Crane October 29, a Sunday. The big guys were closed. The Crane is off San Antonio’s beaten track, an accomplishment of some distinction as San Antonio is little more than the beaten track. Thank you Internet.
Judging from the greetings exchanged among our fellow diners around 1 PM the 29th, the Crane is very local. Visitors just don’t see it or don’t search the Internet.
The inside capacity is around 15, outside, maybe 30. The food is very good, the chile, hot. Lunch for the two of us was $23.00.
On the Sunday, there was demand and the Crane had the only supply.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Albuquerque Dominates Jobs Gains

The October issue of the Labor Market Review, the newsletter from the Department of Workforce Solutions, finally appeared at 5:15 PM. (Yes, I was waiting.)
Metro Albuquerque continued to dominate job production with 4,700, or 69%, of the state’s 6,800 new wage jobs between September 2016 and September 2017. For the August-to-August year, the state added 8,600 jobs with 4,200 in Albuquerque.
For the September year, the other three metro areas did a little better with 100 net new jobs. Last month it was zero new jobs.
The percentage growth was 1.2%, September to September, for Albuquerque.
The unemployment rate, as reported last week, was 6.2% in September, a statistically significant drop from 6.8% in September 2017. What didn’t drop, however, was our unemployment rate’s position among the states. We are still third, behind Washington, D.C., at 6.5% and Alaska at 7.2%. The unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted. The wage job numbers that follow are not.
For the month from August to September, the private sector dropped 4,600 jobs statewide while government added 6,600 (2,800 for the state and 4,000 for local government). The gains were nearly all in education. For the year, the picture flipped with 10,200 more private sector jobs and 3,400 fewer government jobs. Local government lost 500 non-education jobs; the state lost 1,800.

Friday, October 20, 2017

NM Adds 6,800 jobs. Unemployment Drop “Significant.”

New Mexico continues to add a few jobs. Not that 6,800 jobs, the number of new wage jobs appearing between September 2016 and September 2017, are “few.” But on the percentage scale of things, 0.8% growth isn’t much.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released the September job summary today.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which produces the job numbers, did consider our year-over-year unemployment rate change “statistically significant.” The rate dropped from 6.8% in September 2016 to 6.2% in September 2017. However, our job gain was not significant.
The unemployment rate dropped because employment went up a lot more than the labor force grew. The employment growth, however slight, is good. But the economy isn’t growing enough to draw many people back into the labor force.
The new job production started in construction which rocked with a 7% increase, or 3,000 jobs. Professional and business services added 1,900, followed by leisure and hospitality (tourism) with 1,700. Educational services added 1,500 jobs for the year. Retail contributed 1,400.
The only big loss for the month came from government. State government dropped 2,400 with 600 gone in education. Local government lost 1,100 including 600 in education.
Mining and manufacturing continued to lose, but the numbers were small, 400 in mining and 300 in manufacturing.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Amazon's Second HQ Cities Are Not Abq

In an analysis posted September 8 at, four screens were applied. The marketwatch finalists are Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Bridgeport, Denver, New York, Provo, Raleigh, Tampa and Washington.
Criterion number one was having one million people in the metro. Albuquerque doesn't, though if you throw in Santa Fe, the combo passes a million.Then there is being business friendly. Marketwatch used a list from It figured 50th was a good place for the cutoff. Albuquerque ranked 92.
The next criteria was “urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.” The marktwatch screens came from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. They were "either the largest percentage of professional, management and scientific jobs, or the largest percentage of workers in management, business, science and arts."
According to today's Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico "officials say nearly limitless sunshine, hazard free weather and a diverse population should make the state's competitive." Right. Sure.
Those state "officials" are blowing smoke.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

After A Year's Delay For Software, City of Albuquerque Bills Defunct Business

In a last bureaucratic paroxysm the administration of Albuquerque Mayor Richard Richard Berry dug deeply into the archives and found my micro corporation Progress Publishing Inc. The “company,” long since defunct, is “not in good standing” with the state. It’s been years since I renewed the City of Albuquerque business license. The brochure with the bill says, “1. You are receiving instructions with your City of Albuquerque Business Registration Renewal notice. (That’s nice.) A new on-line system is in place, which caused a delay in sending renewal notices therefore; The City of Albuquerque WILL NOT assess the $10 late fee on your registration renewal 2. If you have renewed your Business Registration after September 2016, please disregard this information”
That suggests that it has taken more than a year to get the software running.
In addition to leaving periods off the above copy, making it a never-ending sentence, the instructions failed to offer instructions about what to do if the previously licensed “firm” is out of business.
My choice is to ignore the bill.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Nothing Much Happening in Albuquerque. September Home Sales Up By Nine.

It takes less than 30 days to sell a home or condo sell in Denver, reports the Wall Street Journal today. Now even mentioning the number slips into the Denver Envy mode that is so useless and popular in Albuquerque. My excuse is that the number is one of those interesting tidbits, however irrelevant.
Denver’s circumstances are different from Albuquerque. Denver is booming. In New Mexico, the bad news is that nothing much positive is happening. The good news is that nothing much bad is happening.
In Albuquerque it took an average of 43 days to sell the 997 single family homes that showed a closed sale during September, reports the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors in the September sales report released Wednesday. That was six days faster than during September 2016. A condominium or townhouse took 53 days to sell during September, a three-day increase from September 2016.
Closed sales dropped 95 units, or nine percent, from 1092 in August, a reflection of the seasonal slowing as we head into colder months. Sales were up nine units from 988 in September 2016. Sales peaked in March at 1,030.
It was the same pattern for September’s 985 pending sales, down 195 units, or 17%, from August, but up 128 units, a nice 14.9%, from a year ago.
Prices increased from September 2016. The September median price, $200,000, was up $4,000, or two percent, in a year, but down from $202,825 in August. The average price movement was a $7,070 increase, or 3.1% from September 2016 and a $2,036 decline from $237,532 in August.
Through the first nine months of 2017, the sale of 9,016 single family homes closed in metro Albuquerque, a 6.2% increase from 8,488 in 2016.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Mayor Mail Hits Albuquerque for Final Campaign Week

It’s the last week of Albuquerque’s first go round for mayor. (I’m presuming a run-off because there are so many candidates.) The mail deluge has begun. The Monday group had five items, three arguing the sick day ordinance that would lay a bunch of detailed regulations on businesses (and non-profits, I wonder?).
The pro-ordnance item was an 11” x 6” item hanging the virtues of the proposal on the benefit to “domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.” It came from the very left Center for Civic Policy and others.
The other four mailers were all 8.5” x 11”, full color. Two pitched against the sick ordinance. One was from the Albuquerque for a Healthy Economy, the other from Forward Albuquerque which listed as treasurer venerable Albuquerque civic sort Sherman McCorkle.
The other two Monday mailers were from mayor candidates. Republican Dan Lewis pitched his anti-crime message using yellow headlines which by definition are barely readable (who does his graphics?) and attacked liberal Democrats Tim Keller and Brian Colon. The Lewis mailer did not identify him as a Republican. Wayne Johnson identified himself as a “conservative Republican” and attacked Keller, Colon and Lewis as “big spenders.”
The mailers today (Wednesday) were three. Wayne Johnson said, “Dan Lewis gave control of our police to Barack Obama.” The tiny type return address was the only place Johnson’s name appeared. The Dan Lewis item went to four pages (an 11” x 17” sheet) to say, “We can’t afford Brian Colon or Tim Keller as mayor.”
The third item today was a 9” x 6” card from Americans for Prosperity New Mexico attacking the sick leave ordinance. The group is a Koch sponsored organization that has recently re-staffed in New Mexico. The printer was in Los Lunas.
A person brought a pitch from the NMPIRG education fund to our door. PIRG is another lefty group with all the answers for the downtrodden. PIRG’s leave behind piece was a 3.5” x 8.5” full color flyer.
An advantage of the 8.5” x 11” mailed cards is that they are easy to stack on the way to the trash. Mail is a necessary medium, but finding something to stand out from the stack would be a good use of design money.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Rio Arriba Leads in Substance Abuse Deaths

From the 2017 Distressed Communities Index, produced by the Economic Innovation Group (

“Mental and substance abuse
disorders take their heaviest toll on
distressed counties.
Mortality rates from mental and
substance abuse disorders are 64 percent
higher in distressed counties than in
prosperous ones: 10 deaths per 100,000
people in 2014 in the average prosperous
county compared to 16.5 in the average
distressed one.
The most severe pockets of these
diseases are located in Appalachia
(particularly southern West Virginia
and eastern Kentucky) and on Native
American reservations in the West. In
McDowell and Wyoming Counties, West
Virginia, the mortality rate climbs to
nearly 60 per 100,000 people—that is
four and a half times the national rate
of 13.4. In such corners of Appalachia,
mortality rates from mental and
substance abuse disorders have
increased by more than 1,000 percent
since 1980. In Rio Arriba County, New
Mexico, the mortality rate from these
disorders spikes even further to 73.2
deaths per 100,000 adults.”

Monday, September 25, 2017

Abq Mayor Berry on Crime: I didn’t Do it

If the time spent on a topic during a speech measures the priority of the speaker, then outgoing Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, the priority has been homelessness. Berry gave what was billed as his Last State of the City report today to NAIOPNM, the commercial developers group.
NAIOPNM has provided Berry a receptive venue. The developers stood to applaud a number of times during his speech. NAIOPNM meeting at the Marriott in Uptown Albuquerque.
Crime finished second. “I didn’t do it” sums Berry’s explanation of the increased crime on his watch.
Berry skated on the ART project, the more than controversial destroying of miles of mostly Central Ave. for fancy buses. (Through the core of downtown ART jogs to a block north of Central.) ART got perhaps five minutes of soothing words claiming that all will be fine eventually. Berry thanked Central Avenue businesses for hanging in there during ART construction, an amazing statement. Berry further claimed that ART will persuade some families to go from two cars to one because of being able to ride ART to work. Sure. Right.
The crime increase during Berry’s second term comes from two system factors, Berry said. The first is the roughly 50% drop in the number of people in the county jail, a result of national movement to let less troubling criminals out of jail.
The jail was overcrowded, Berry said. Reducing the number of people in jail is “laudable,” but “it has gone too far too fast.”
The big reduction in the number of police officers came from changes in public employee retirement programs that induced employees to take the money and retire.
Two questions: First, I can’t imagine that Berry’s administration had nothing to do with developing the policies that reduced the number of people in jail or that changed the retirement programs. Second, it would be interesting to connect the jail policies with the fact that Albuquerque as a cadre of people for whom their job, as in an 8-to-5 job, is stealing cars. These people score a half-dozen or so cars each day they “work,” the cops tell us.
Much of the celebration of homeless program “success” came during a lengthy separate segment before Berry talked.
Post homeless and pre-Berry it was family time. Berry’s wife Maria Medina went on about the glories of being first lady and of serving Albuquerque. Mayoral parents were introduced. I’m not sure which set. All very chummy.
Berry gave the expected list of accomplishments. The economy is growing (well, sort of). Government is more efficient. There has been $33 million in “efficiency” savings. New companies have come. The spending increase has been kept “right at the rate of inflation.”
“Downtown is fast becoming” an arts and entrepreneurial community. Of course Berry didn’t mention that downtown remains pretty much empty due to the departure of banks and PNM administrative staff.
During Berry’s administration the city has “completed / initiated” 901 “projects” costing $1.27 billion, a Berry handout said. This is an exaggeration. For example, for what I presume to be the biggest project, the $93 million rebuilding of the Interstate 25 and Paseo del Norte interchange, the city may have initiated the project, but fuzzy memory suggest that came long before Berry was mayor. The feds provided $8 million and $29.7 million came from the state, according to a December 14, 2014 Albuquerque Journal story.
Albuquerque’s basic services are among the best in the country Berry said., a website, rates Albuquerque as one of the three best run cities in the country, he said, according to my notes. I checked Wallethub. A July 17 report there puts Albuquerque as 23rd for the quality of city services and Las Cruces as 6th. Maybe I heard wrong.
Two videos provided a break from the talking. One was a FoxNews story about the awful consequences of California letting people out of jail. The other celebrated new light around Albuquerque.

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
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.