Friday, June 23, 2017

The Four Metros Together Lose 100 Jobs

Among the state’s four metro areas, it was a 100-job loss for the year from May 2016 to May 2017. The figures are not seasonally adjusted. Thus all the state’s year-over-year gain of 7,500 wage jobs came from the 26 rural counties, plus 100 jobs to cover the metro loss. This is an exceptional performance.
The state’s Department of Workforce Solutions released the metro job numbers today in the May issue of its newsletter, “Labor Market Review.”
The pattern for the three smaller metro areas—Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Farmington—was that a sector gains or loses 100 jobs, then another sector gains or loses 200 jobs. Albuquerque showed some bigger numbers. But then Albuquerque’s wage job total was 389,700 for May. SO there’s more to work with. Albuquerque professional and business services lost 1,600 jobs. State government lost 1,400. Manufacturing lost 1,000. Education and health services added 1,000. Construction added 1,200. Financial activities dropped 600. Transportation gained 700.
Santa Fe, the seat of government, reported the 23rd consecutive monthly job loss, down 100 jobs. The decline was in local government.
The Labor Market Review had to interesting special articles if you’re into numbers without worrying about why the numbers behave that way. “Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) 2016 at a Glance” reviewed employment distribution by major occupational group and discussed the earnings of some occupations. Office and administrative support is the biggest group with 15.3% of the total. That’s nice, but it says little about the functioning of the economy. What do these administrative supporters support?
Architecture and engineers lead average median wages with $85,880. Again, that’s nice. Among some more detailed occupations, pediatricians make the most with an annual median of $192,810.
The other article is “2016 Gross Domestic Product Data.” New Mexico’s GDP trends down.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Mining Job Losses Dropped to 300, Year Over Year

New Mexico’s unemployment rate dropped ever so slightly during May. The change, on a seasonally adjusted basis, was from 6.7% in April and also May 2016 to 6.6% for May 2017. To call the “improvement” less than statistically insignificant seems appropriate.
Colorado continued with the lowest rate, 2.3%. New Mexico swapped places with Alaska is placed second. The DWS release, out this afternoon, studiously avoided these details.
The labor force, seasonally adjusted, grew by 8,062 to 934,867 during the year from May 2016 to May 2017. The number of unemployed stayed essentially the same during the year, dropping by 306 to 61,626 in May.
Statewide there appeared 7,500 net new jobs on a not seasonally adjusted basis during the May to May year with 10,000 jobs in the private sector and 2,500 fewer in government. The big government loss was 2,300 in state government education (post secondary schools), possibly due to the end of the semester.
Mining and logging lost another 300 jobs over the year, suggesting that sector’s three years of job losses may have essentially stopped.
Leisure and hospitality (tourism) led the gaining sectors with 3,500 more jobs, or 3.6% growth. Construction’s growth was 3,200 jobs, a 7.5% gain. Education and health services added 2,500 jobs with the gain split among the two sectors with education up 1,200 and health care up 1,300.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Home Sales Resume Climb

After a quick and slight dip during April, metro Albuquerque closed sales of single family detached homes resume the upward climb in May with 1,196 sales, a 215 unit, or 18% increase from April. May sales were 178 units above May 2016.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors (gaar.com) released the May sales report yesterday.
Pending sales went the other way during May with 1,279, a drop of 52 from 1,331 in April, and ending down 20 units from 1,299 for March. The pending sales for May were 20.7% above May 2016.
The sales are happening faster. A couple of houses around the corner from me sold recently within a week.
During May homes were on the market an average of 45 days, four days or 8.2% less than May 2016. During April, homes sold in an average of 51 days with 51 days during April.
The inventory of homes for sale, 3,266 during May, is running 20% less than the comparable month during 2016.
Pries are steady to up. The median sales price was $199,950 during May, a $9,950, or 5.2%, increase from May 2016 and up $5,450 from April. The average price was $235,723 for May, down $152 from April. However, the average is up 4% from May 2017, or about $9,000, from My 2016 and up $14,000, or 6%, from April. A couple of million dollar sales can have a material effect on the average price.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Construction Leads April Job Growth

Job production in metro Albuquerque dominates the metro areas these days with 86%, or 1,900, of the 2,200 metro wage jobs added between April 2016 and April 2017.
But the metro areas aren’t carrying the state. Those 2,200 metro jobs are just 30% of the 7,400 wage jobs appearing across the state during the April to April year.
The state’s smaller metros job growth was Santa Fe, +700; Las Cruces, +300; and -700 in Farmington.
In Albuquerque manufacturing lost 1,100 jobs for the year with professional and business services down 1,000.
Construction led sector job production in Albuquerque with 1,200 more jobs, year over year. Construction added another 1,400 jobs around the rest of the state. Education and health services added 900 jobs, but the EHS growth rate of 1.4% was well off the past years. Tourism (leisure and hospitality found 800 jobs during the year.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released the metro job report today.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Unemployment Rate Remains Nation's Highest

A little job momentum appears. New Mexico added 7,400 wages jobs during the year from April 2016 to April 2017. At 0.9%, the growth approached one percent, a magic number of sorts. The March job growth was revised to 7,400, the Department of Workforce Solutions said yesterday in its news release. The original March figure was 6,800 for year-over-year growth.
What DWS didn’t say was that New Mexico’s unemployment rate remains the nation’s highest at 6.7%, just ahead of Alaska’s 6.6%. NM and Alaska are only states over 6%. Colorado has nation’s lowest at 2.3%.
The especially good news is that mining only lost 500 jobs year over year, well down from the thousands of year over year losses that have plagued the sector since oil prices peaked in mid-2014. National stories repeat that oil companies look at the Permian Basin, our oil Mecca, with gleams in their eyes.
The health care and social assistance part of education and health services (EHS) added 600 jobs, or 0.5%, quite different from 2016 when the EHS sector was the state’s fastest growing with 5,700 new wage jobs, year over year.
Manufacturing took the lead for sector job losses, down 900 jobs, or 3.3%.
State government dropped 1,300 jobs led by 1,400 fewer jobs in state government education, meaning universities. (Other parts of state government apparently added 100 jobs.) Local government education (K-12) dropped 500 jobs.
Leisure and hospitality (L&H) led the gainer sectors with 3,300 more jobs, year-over-year, a nice 3.5 % increase. (L&H) had added jobs for 6.5 years, DWS said. Construction added 2,600 jobs, a six percent increase.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Abq Home Sales down Slightly During April; Prices Up

In May, the pattern for single family detached home sales in metro Albuquerque got a little disrupted. The number of closed sales—981 during April— dropped slightly—all of 30 units, or 3%—from 1,011 during March. The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the April sales report today.
April’s sales were 76% of the 1,299 homes with a sale pending during March, a low percentage. April’s closed sales performance was eight ahead of the 973 homes sold during April 2016. That’s a 0.8% increase.
The rest of the pattern stayed in place—fewer homes offered for sale, homes selling faster, prices increasing and more sales pending.
The median sales price was $194,500 during April, a $9,500, or 5.1%, increase from April 2016. The median sales price for March was $187,500. April’s average sales price was $235,875, up 8.8% from April 2016. The March average price was $222,759.
Pending sales were 1,331 during April, 1,299 during March and 1,080 during April 2016.
Homes sold during April took an average of 51 days to sell. The average sales period was 54 days during March and 59 days during April 2016.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Weekly Working Hours, Earnings Drop in Metro Areas

Of the state’s 6,800 new wage jobs between March 2016 and March 2017, 2,100 came in the north central urban area of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Albuquerque added 2,000 jobs, or 0.5%, with 100 more jobs in Santa Fe, a 0.5% increase. Las Cruces has 1,000 more jobs for the year, a nice 1.4% increase, while Farmington lost 1,600 jobs, a heavy 3.2% drop. The numbers here are not seasonally adjusted and came this afternoon from the Department of Workforce Solutions.
Statewide state government education, meaning post-secondary education, was down 1,700 jobs. The losses appear to be in rural counties as the metro areas showed little movement. This is a guess as the data isn’t broken out.
Albuquerque added 1,300 jobs between February and March.
Education and health services (EHS) accounted for 1,300 of Albuquerque’s year-over-year new jobs. Information added 600 with 400 more in construction.
Year-over-year Albuquerque manufacturing dropped 900 jobs for a sector total of 15,300. This is just over half the peak of 28,900 jobs in August 1997 and the lowest total since January 1990.
In Las Cruces the year-over-year sector leaders were leisure and hospitality (LH) and education and health services (EHS), both with 400 more jobs. The LH gain was 4.9% with 2.6% for the larger EHS.
In Santa Fe, EHS led the losers, down 200 jobs for the third year-over-year loss in nine months. LH added 400 jobs.
Farmington continues to be hit by oil and gas. Wage employment is below the 2010 average of 48,400.
Average weekly working hours in the private sector were down, year-over-year for all four metros as were average weekly earnings.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Unemployment Rate Leadership Continues

In March New Mexico kept its leadership among the states in unemployment (seasonally adjusted), according to today’s release of wage job figures from federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state’s Department of Workforce Solutions reported the 6.7% unemployment rate in its news release, as it had to, but somehow overlooked New Mexico’s leading position.
The unemployment rate was down an insignificant tenth of a point from February and up an equally insignificant tenth of a point from March 2016. We are hanging in at more than two points above the national unemployment rate of 4.9%. Mississippi’s one point unemployment year over year rate drop—from 6% to 5%—was significant.
Overall, the BS said, “Unemployment rates were lower in March in 17 states and stable in 33 states and the District of Columbia.”
The state added 7,100 wage jobs (seasonally adjusted jobs) in the year between March 2016 and March 2017, a performance the BLS did not consider statistically significant. This insignificance was too insignificant to make the DWS release. Seasonally unadjusted, the job gain was 6,800.
For mining and logging, the continuing drag on the state’s job picture, the year-over-year loss was down to 1,400.
Among the other losers, manufacturing continued down with a year-over-year drop of 1,100 in the durable goods sector. Retail trade dropped 800 seasonally adjusted jobs. Education lost 2,000 jobs with 1,700 (5.6%) from higher education (state government education) and 300 from local government education (public schools).
Leisure and hospitality was the bigger gainer for the month with 3,700 new jobs, seasonally unadjusted, and 2,900 with the adjustment. The combined education and health services sector added 3,200 jobs with 1,700 in health and 1,500 in education. Professional and business services added 800 jobs year-over-year.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Rural Counties Lose 1,400 jobs

The January 2016 to January 2017 net job performance for New Mexico’s four metro areas was 2,300 more wage jobs. Albuquerque and Las Cruces respectively added 3,800 and 800 jobs. Farmington lost 1,800 and Santa Fe 500. The state added a net of 900 jobs, meaning that the 26 rural counties lost 1,400 jobs (2,300 minus 900 = 1,400).
Eight states lost jobs for the period. New Mexico had the lowest growth that was still positive. As has been reported, New Mexico led the nation with a 6.7% unemployment rate.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released the January job report yesterday. The new numbers are not seasonally adjusted.
Monthly job performance usually gets little attention due to seasonal changes. The year-over-year performance indicates the trend.
From December 2016 to January 2017, the state lost 19,400 jobs, 1,300 more than the 18,800 dropped from December 2015 to January 2016. For the year just past, the state’s 900-job increase represents a slight reversal from the 1,800 jobs lost between January 2015 and January 2016.
Mining gained 200 jobs between December 2016 to January 2017. Finance and wholesale trade show no change. Every other sector lost, “led” by retail trade with post-holiday layoffs causing a 3,900-job decline. Professional and business services was the largest other private sector loser, down 1,200 jobs.
State government education was also down 3,900 jobs for the month, presumably also holiday related. Local government education—the public schools—dropped 3,000 jobs. For the year, government employment increased in Albuquerque, led by 300 more feds, and showed modest losses in Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Farmington. Translated, the rural counties took the main hit.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Winter Continues for Abq Home Sales

Fewer single family detached homes have sold in metro Albuquerque of the few months and they took longer to sell. The standard winter slump? No doubt, mostly? But the average number of days that a home is on the market has risen steadily from 54 last November to 66 in February. The February average days figure was nine days less than the 75 days needed for a sale in February 2015. Some good news lurks.
February saw the sale closed for 633 detached homes, down 29 from January and down 39, or 5.8%, from January 2016. The 633 sales were 68% of the 937 sales pending during January, a relatively low proportion.
The 28 days of February masked a performance improvement from January. During February an average of 22.6 homes sold each day. During January, average sales per day were 21.4. Both figures were well down from December when 28.2 homes sold each day, even with all the holiday disruption.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the February sales report today. See gaar.com.
The median sales price was $186,500 during February. The average price was $223,104. Both figures were up just over 6.5% from February 2016. The average price has increased about 10% from February 2015.
Pending sales were 1,059 during February, a 12% increase from a year before. Pending sales were 770 in December and 937 in January.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Supporting GRT Reform

This essay ran as a "guest column" in the Albuquerque.The essay supports the comprehensive reform of New Mexico's gross receipts tax that is House Bill 412 in the current legislature. My column in support f HB 412 run in New Mexico News Services subscribing newspapers the week of March 6 and then will be posted at nmopinions.com. - HM

By Brian McDonald / Economic Consultant, Albuquerque and Chuck Wellborn / Retired Lawyer, Albuquerque
Albuquerque Journal, Friday, February 24th, 2017 at 12:02am
A pending bill in the Legislature, HB 412, seeks to bring badly needed reform to the state’s gross receipts tax by removing ill-considered deductions and exemptions, thereby expanding the GRT tax base and enabling the GRT tax rate to be reduced. The latter is a well-recognized principle of state taxation – tax a broad base of economic activity at a low tax rate.

One aspect of this bill that should be widely embraced is in fact one of its most controversial provisions. That is re-imposing GRT on food – though at a reduced rate.
There are more reasons to support the tax on food than many know:
⋄ It’s not at all clear that exempting food from GRT actually benefits the poor,
⋄ The benefits of the food tax exemption flow almost entirely to the non-poor,
⋄ The food tax break is a primary contributor to our current fiscal woes, reducing tax revenues by more than $200 million each year,
⋄ These lost revenues are desperately needed for public education, early childhood development and Medicaid, which do benefit the poor, and
⋄ Lost GRT tax revenue on food sales has forced cities and counties to increase their GRT rates on non-food items such as utilities and clothing, further burdening the poor.
Opponents of reinstating the food tax say that even though the poor get federal SNAP (food stamp) assistance, SNAP assistance only provides a portion of their food needs. Co-author Brian McDonald, a Ph.D. economist who headed UNM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research until his retirement, points to data that raises serious questions about this premise.
In fiscal 2015, SNAP assistance totaling $685.2 million went to 205,540 New Mexico households, with each household receiving $3,333 per year on average. By federal law, SNAP benefits have never been subject to GRT. The 2004 legislation eliminating food from the GRT tax base therefore provided little tax relief to the poor in New Mexico. New Mexico SNAP recipients today receive GRT tax benefits totaling $47.96 million – assuming a 7 percent GRT tax rate – by virtue of this federal exemption, not the 2004 New Mexico legislation exempting food.
How does the $3,333 in SNAP assistance each household received compare to the annual food purchases of similar households?
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey data for that year show that the lowest 10 percent of households in the United States by income spent $2,566 on “food at home” – the closest data concept to the New Mexico GRT tax base on food. The second lowest 10 percent of households by income spent $2,432 on food at home.
Extrapolating this data to New Mexico’s poor, the lowest 20 percent of households are receiving SNAP benefits, which typically cover most or all of their expenditures on food and which are not subject to GRT taxation by federal law. Under HB 412, these $685.2 million in food purchases by the poor will still be exempt from GRT.
The lower GRT tax rate proposed by HB 412 will give the poor in New Mexico real tax relief on their non-food purchases such as utilities, clothing, food consumed at restaurants and school supplies. Arguably, the poor in New Mexico will pay more GRT if HB 214 excludes food from the tax base because the GRT tax rate will have to be increased in order to generate the same level of tax collections with a smaller tax base.

Monday, February 13, 2017

January Home Sales Up 5.6% from Year Ago

January usually is the slowest month of the year for home sales. “Improvement,” therefore, is relative. But for January 2017, improvement it was, according to the January sales report released Friday by the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors.
The sale of 662 single family detached homes closed during January. That was 35 more than January 2015 and a 5.6% improvement. In keeping with the seasonal trends, the January closed sales were 213 units or 24% less than December.
Pending sales went the other way with a 22% increase over December. It was 937 sales pending for January, up from 770 in December. The January pending performance beat January 2015 by 135 sales, or 16.8%. The heavy pending figure from January suggests robust closed sales for February.
Closing sales during January took longer by three days than during December. The 62 day average time on market was first month the average sales period was over 60 days since March 2016. The sales period has been as low as 49 days.
Pries were increased during January from a year ago but dropped from December. The $185,000 December median price beat January 2015 by 7.2%, or $12,500 but was $5,000 down from December. The average price, $218,488 in January, dropped almost $4,000 from December to the same level as November and October. The January 2015 average was 3.1% less than a year later.
The inventory of homes for sale, 2,889 during January, remains about 20% less than a year earlier.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Unemployment Rate Drops in Mississippi, Not in NM

Activity in New Mexico’s employment sectors churned in December but ended the month with a gain of 100 jobs. Government, mining and construction took care of losing 2,600 jobs. Private sector service sectors added 2,700 jobs to provide the 100 job gain, which, the Department of Workforce Solutions said was a “neutral percentage growth.”
Over the year, as reported last week, the state gained 2,400 jobs, bringing the wage job total to 835,400. New Mexico’s 6.6% unemployment rate was second place nationally behind Alaska. Mississippi, the nation’s unemployment leader at 6.8% in December 2015, reported 5.6% unemployed in December 2016.
For the month, leisure and hospitality led the growers with 900 new wage jobs, followed by professional and business services (+800) and education and health services (+500).
The numbers are in the DWS newsletter, Labor Market Review, which was released this afternoon. The numbers discussed here are not seasonally adjusted.
The three smaller metro areas—Las Cruces (+400), Farmington (+300) and Santa Fe (-200)—combined for a net gain of 500 jobs during 2016. The only big number among the three was 1,200 new education and health services jobs in Las Cruces, which offset the gain with 400 fewer jobs in both government and manufacturing. For Santa Fe, it was plus 100 here, minus 100 there, among the sectors.

Friday, January 20, 2017

December Job Growth is 0.3%

There are statistics and there are revised statistics. Revisions in the November job statistics turned the 2,500 job loss into a 900 job gain. No job should appear in the New Mexico Mudville as the new gain translates to 0.1%, a sum that could disappear in the blink of a statistician’s eye.
For December, the numbers released today report a 2,400-job increase from December 2015 to December 2016 to move the December 2016 wage job total to 835,400. The gain was 0.3%. Remember though, all is preliminary.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.6%, down a hair from 6.7% in November and the same as December 2015.
The state’s Department of Workforce Solutions released the December job report today.
Education and health services (EHS), driven by Medicaid, continued as the state’s fastest growing sector with 5,700 new wage jobs, year over year. EHS has led sector job growth for 2.5 years, DWS said.
Professional and business services (+2,400 jobs) and leisure and hospitality (+1,400 jobs) continued as the second and third fastest growing sectors.
Year over year jobs losses in mining (oil and gas) have eased. From December 2015 to December 2016 it was 5,000 fewer jobs.
Manufacturing dropped another 800 jobs over the year to now employ 26,500 people.
Retail didn’t have much of a holiday season if employment is the measure. Retail trade employed 93,700 in December, marking a 2,800 job loss for the year.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Martinez Administration Tax Cuts Posted

January 14, 2017
Blog Readers: The bills listed below are those behind the Martinez administration’s oft stated brag of having cut taxes 37 times. My column for publication January 16 to 20 discusses the cuts and concludes there is less to the claim than meets the eye. My column is posted at nmopinions.com after publication week.
The notes with the bill numbers are mine. Chris Sanchez only sent bill numbers and the year of passage.
One of the bills, Senate Bill 369 from 2012, showed no tax cuts. Let’s generous and assume the administration make a typo in compiling the bill numbers. – Harold Morgan

TO: Chrisj.Sanchez3@state.nm.us

12/20/16
Chris: My weekly column goes to nine community newspapers around the state. At the lunch today (12/20/16) of the legislative outlook conference of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute, Keith Gardner said, “We’ve cut taxes 37 times.” Please send me the list of those tax cuts. Please also include the session, bill number and estimated revenue impact.
Thank you. - Harold Morgan

Was unable to access fiscal impact report. Thus, do not have the forgone revenue from these cuts.

A number of these “cuts” were extensions of previously enacted tax credits or gross receipts exemptions. Others raised the amount of sales required for a tax to be charged. Taxes tended to be very narrowly focused.

12/22/16
Chrisj.Sanchez3@state.nm.us
Hey Harold. Here you go:

2011 HB 273 Trivial. limiting the research and development small business tax credit and extending it until 2015.

2011 HB 437 More than trivial. Possibly discriminates against rural counties? A property tax exemption for veteran’s organizations.
2011 HB 440 an “advanced energy deduction” and a gross receipts and compensating tax deduction to encourage the construction and development of qualified generating facilities to sequester or control carbon dioxide emissions. Hugely speculative. Amounts potentially very large.

2011 HB 523;SB 179 a gross receipts deduction for locomotive fuel. This might be called the Union Pacific bill. A deal breaker, it was called, with regard to UP constructing its rail yard near Santa teresa. . It was also an extension of a ill passed several years before.
2011 SB 84 Extending the gross receipts and compensation tax deduction for gross receipts on fuel specially prepared and sold for use in turboprop or jet-type engines. Appears to be a very narrow interest.

2011 SB 282
2012 HB 184 – two deductions
2012 HB 184
2012 HB 10
2012 HB 116
2012 HB 123
2012 SB 32
2012 SB 369 – No cut. Just definitions.
2013 HB 106
2013 HB 641 – Film and more.
2013 HB 641
2013 SB 14 – Extending tax credit.
2013 SB 81 – Increases and decreases beer tax.
2013 SB 116 – Increases wine tax rate, increases volume limit, cuts tax amount.
2013 SB 160
2014 HB24
2014 HB14
2014 SB88
2014 HB32
2014 HB288 – Biofuels.
2014 SB106
2015 SB279
2015 SB302
2015 SB448
2015 SB506
2015, (special session) HB2 Tax package. It dealt with a hodgepodge including the angel investment tax credit, medical care expenses, selling stuff to companies dealing with thee Department of Defense, and refunding the petroleum products loading fee. (What is the petroleum products loading fee? Why do we have it?)
2015, special HB2
2015, special HB2
2015, special HB2
2015, special HB2
2015, special HB2
2015, special HB2