Monday, July 22, 2019

Abq Mayor Gets Developer's Applause

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller brought his enthusiastic self today to NAIOP, the commercial real estate developers group meeting at the Uptown Marriott. If spontaneous applause is the measure, he scored some points.
He started with the New Mexico United professional soccer team, citing the team’s support as “a tremendous example of how we can be united.” Keller related the problems in getting the team situated. His orientation was ‘getting it done” rather than worrying about the difficulties. His showed a photo of the Civic Plaza watch parties which have struck as a great example of a creative and obvious use of the forlorn plaza.
There are a lot of ideas out there, he said, let’s just pick one. “Quit selling ourselves short.”
Crime was topic two. “For the first time in a decade, all our crime stats are down,” he said. Of course, he also said, crime remains high.
There is a new multi-agency involvement in crime. “We have got to take responsibility for what we as individuals can do.” Not sure what that means in the crime context, but it sounds good.
In economic development, Keller, like the governor, has doubled down on movies. He cited some great statistics—2,200 jobs from recent announcements—but of course didn’t mention that movie jobs are project work, three months here, six months there. A new movie real estate infrastructure is developing from people renting to movie production personnel. The rental rates are great, owners tell me, and more than offset the vacant periods.
Then there are the homeless who are “not going away without major investment by our city, Keller said. He plans to put $14 million in the fall bond package for a homeless shelter. NO mention of the ACLU recently blowing away the city’s attempt at regulating panhandling from road medians.
Keller closed on an up note, city the recent national senior games as a united (there’s that word again) effort that was hugely successful—20,000 people in town spending money and 8,000 volunteers.
He referred a number of times to the “One Albuquerque” umbrella program. If you can get past the progressive gobbledygook at the website ( probably is worthy.
The fall bond measures got a big pitch at the end. The ART project mention was an inverse to the bonds

Friday, July 19, 2019

Unemployment Rate Hngs Around 4.9%

New Mexico’s unemployment rate has hung around 4.9% during the past year. It was 4.9% in June, 5% in May and 4.8% in June 2018. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the state added 14,400 jobs, a (nice for New Mexico) 1.7% increase that the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics considers statistically significant. Arizona wage jobs grew 2.8% during the June to June year; Utah, 2.7%; and Colorado 1.9%.
While I’m not quite sure of the arithmetic, that seems to mean that of the 25,000 added to the labor force over the year, 23,000 found employment (which is different from a wage job) because total unemployment went up 2,000.
Leisure and hospital led the sector growth, up 5,300 jobs or 5.3%, not seasonally adjusted. Construction added 3,000 jobs, a 6.3% increase.
Mining grew by 2,000, up 8%. Employment in Eddy County, with Lea the heart of oil production, grew by 2,700 to total 33,153 in June. Lea County added 800 jobs for employment of 29,440.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released the June job summary this afternoon. DWS will provide more details in a week.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Metro Unemployment Rates Up For May

The edge comes a little off New Mexico’s wage job happiness with new that three of our four metro areas showed an unemployment rate for May 2019 above the rate for May 2018. The state’s rate was 5% for May, the same as April. The metro unemployment rates, seasonally unadjusted, are:
Albuquerque: 4.3% from 4.1%;
Las Cruces: 5.3% from 5.1%;
Santa Fe 3.8% from 3.7%.
Farmington’s unemployment dropped a tenth of a point from 5% to 4.9%.
The numbers are from the Labor Market Review newsletter of the Department of Workforce Solutions, which was released today.
The four-county metro Albuquerque added 5,100 wage jobs with the gains in professional and business services (+2,900); education and health services (+2,500); and leisure and hospitality (+2,100).
Las Cruces added 1,100 jobs over the year with the biggest gain in education services, up 600.
The ups and downs of the various sectors added to no change for Santa Fe, year over year. Farmington added 300 jobs.
Catron County has the lowest average weekly wage $453, followed, so to speak, by San Miguel County (Santa Rosa) at $496, followed and McKinley at $541. The highest wage is in Los Alamos with $1,685. The Eddy County wage is $1,226 with Lea at $1,133.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Job Growth Continues, State Adds 15,900 Jobs for May

New Mexico added 15,900 wage jobs between May 2018 and May 2019. This is a healthy (for New Mexico) 1.9% gain. The unemployment rate was 5% (47,627 people), seasonally adjusted, and 4.5%, seasonally adjusted.
The job gain was considered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be large enough to be statistically significant.
Mining and logging (a sector that is nearly all mining) added 2,800 jobs, a 11.5% increase that brought sector employment to 27,100 jobs. The oil boom is showing is Eddy and Lea county employment. Eddy is up 2,300 jobs (to 32,419) over the year with Lea up 1,800 to 30,060.
The leading sectors for job production over the twelve months were professional and business services, 3,700 (3.5% increase); education and health services, 3,600 (2.6%); and leisure and hospitality, 3,500 jobs (3.5%)
Most of the education and health services growth came in health care and social assistance, which added 3,100 jobs.
Government added 600 jobs for year with federal and local increases offset by state government education (universities) dropping 1,200 jobs as summer break began.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released job summary numbers this afternoon.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Ben Ray Lujan Cop Out of Dad's Political Legacy

The copy below is part of an email from Rep. Ben Ray Lujan. The email came April 3, a couple of days after Lujan announced his candidacy for the United States Senate. Look carefully at what Lujan says about his dad. “My dad was a union ironworker.” That’s all. No mention that papa Ben was speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives for 11 years.
Lujan appears to wear the cop-out hat well. On August 13, 2015, in an interview of Lujan about the 2015 Gold King mine spill, KOB TVs Chris Ramirez said to Lujan, “There a lot of people looking to you to make sure you are the policing agent on the EPA.”
Lujan’s non-response: “Well, there has to be full accountability with the EPA on this.”
The KOB quote comes from the August 21, 2015, column I wrote about the interview. The email was sent by It said,
“Activist -
“I wanted you to hear this directly from me:

“I’m officially running to be New Mexico’s next Democratic U.S. Senator.

“I’m asking you to add your name in the first days of my campaign if you support my fight to WIN this seat and WIN a Democratic Senate. >>

“I’m so proud of my New Mexico roots. My mom retired after 33 years with the local public school district. My dad was a union ironworker. I was raised on the small farm that I still call home.”

“ is the original online community of progressive activists, with over 3 million supporters. We fight for jobs, justice, healthcare, education, the environment, and peace. We're supported by great progressive partners so we never ask for donations. Please join us at!”

Paid for by People for Ben

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Abq Homes Sales Pattern Continues

The pattern of past months continued during February for the metro Albuquerque residential real estate market. The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the February sales report on Monday, March 11.
The pattern: Closed and pending sales up. Prices up. Inventory of homes offered for sale, down. Or, demand up, supply down, prices up.
The number of home sales closed during the month continued to increase on a month over month basis from 2018. There were 747 sales closed during February, a 7% increase from February 2018. The exception here is that sales dropped 7.5% during December 2018. But that was the first month over month drop since June 2018.
Pending sales continued up. February’s pending sales were 1,074, a 10% hike from February 2018 and 157 more than during January, which was up 1.7% from January 2018.
Inventory, as noted, went the other way. February saw 2,090 homes offered for sale, a big 690 unit, or 24.8%, drop from 2,780 in February 2018 and down 30% from 2,977 in February 2017.
The median sales price, $203,500, increased 4.4% from $195,000 in February 2018 and was up $1,255 from January.
The average sales price increased 7.1% from February 2018 to $242,062. The average sales price did drop from $250,777 in January and $247,759 in January. October 2018 was the only month over month average price drop during the past year.
Homes did sell a bit more quickly in February than during February 2018. The difference was just a day—55 days versus 56 days. Home required an average of 50 days to sell during January and 52 days during December. Both figures were faster than the year before.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Tribal Economic Development Documents

For economic development documents cited the the February 2019 column about Native American stories, see:
National Congress of American Indians, 2013, “Securing our Futures”, page 8.
32 Growing Economies in Indian Country: Taking Stock of Progress and Partnerships. A Summary of Challenges, Recommendations, and Promising Efforts. Published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, April 2012.
33 National Congress of American Indians, 2017, “Empowering Tribal Economic Development: Indian Country’s Policy Recommendations for the Federal Government”.
These documents appear as footnotes in The Economic Impact of the 19 Indian Pueblos in New Mexico. January 2019.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Albuquerque Adds 10,300 jobs; Revisions Coming

The December issue of the New Mexico’s Department of Workforce Solutions Labor Market Review newsletter slipped into the email inbox late this afternoon. The Review bring detail to the happy numbers released last week. Those numbers—2.4%, 19,900 person, seasonally adjusted employment growth for the year between December 2017 and December 2018—will disappear in early March with the release of annually revised figures in early March.
For now, however, Albuquerque can revel in year-over-year wage employment being up 10,300 wages, or 2.6%. The other three metro areas can gather some warm fuzzies with the knowledge, however short term, of a few new age jobs each during 2018.
For Las Cruces it was 300 jobs, or 0.4%. Santa Fe: 400 jobs, 0.6%. Farmington: 300 jobs, 0.6%.
Professional and business services led Albuquerque’s growth with 3,900 jobs during 2018, a 6.4% increase. Leisure and hospitality followed with 1,900 jobs, a 4.5% increase.
Government added 2,400 jobs over the year, a 2.9% increase that included 1,700 State government jobs. State government showed no change in employment during December.
Construction continued to grow, adding 1,000 jobs, or 4.3%. Education and health services generated 700 new jobs. Manufacturing added 200.

Friday, January 18, 2019

NM Adds 20,000 Jobs. Lea Now 3rd in Oil Production

New Mexico’s 2.4%, 19,900 person, seasonally adjusted employment growth for the year between December 2017 and December 2018 placed us among the 40 states with statistically significant by the reckoning of the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. December employment was 855,700, the BLS said.
The largest year over year unemployment rate decline occurred in New Mexico (-1.3 percentage points).
Summary job statistics were released this afternoon by the BLS and by New Mexico’s Department of Workforce Solutions.
Leisure and hospitality continued to lead New Mexico’s sector growth with 8,400 new wage jobs. That’s 41% of the 20,400 seasonally unadjusted wage jobs added during the year. Professional and business services grew by 3,400 jobs with 2,600 more in construction and 1,000 in mining, an especially good showing, no doubt finally reflecting the rapid growth in oil and gas production. Health care and social services was up 1,900 jobs.
The Lea County labor force expand by 3,200 during the year to 30,900 with employment up 3,400. Eddy County shows the same sort of growth.
Lea County is the nation’s number three oil producing county, the Hobbs News Sun reported recently. Eddy County is seventh,
Arizona’s unemployment rate was 4.8% in December, a tenth of a point ahead of New Mexico’s 4.7%. Arizona’s 2018 unemployment outlook from the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona forecast 4.6% unemployment with 3.8% in 2019 as “Arizona hits the accelerator,” EBRC’s economic outlook said last month.
The unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage point in December for Arizona and New Mexico, the BLS said. In Colorado and Oregon the rate was up 0.2 percentage point each. The Colorado increase took the unemployment rate all of 3.5%. In Utah, the unemployment rate is even less: 3.2%.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Abq Homes Sales Up for 2018, Down for December

At the end of November, metro Albuquerque sales of single family detached homes were cruising along, 545 units, or 5%, ahead of the comparable 11 months in 2017. Then came December. Sales dropped 66 units from December 2017 to 845 units for the months. December sales were down 51 units from November as the market heads for the seasonal low in January or February. Sales finished the year 487 units ahead of 2017, a 4.1% gain.
Closed sales were 735 in January 2018.
June was the only other month during 2018 when sales dropped from the comparable 2017 month.
Call it cold weather or rising interest rates.
Still, people are thinking about buying a new home. For December there were 796 sales pending, a 22.1% jump from December 2017. The percentage increase was even better than November when pending sales were 17.1% up from November 2017. Pending sales were 912 units in November.
The median price was $209,950 for homes sold during December, an 8.3% hike from December 2017 and the second highest monthly median for the year behind only the $211,670 seen in June. The average price was $246,348 for the December sales, up 6.9% from a year earlier, but just fourth highest average for 2018.
December’s homes sold in an average of 53 days, one day faster than during December 2017

Friday, December 28, 2018

Abq Leads Job Production

Albuquerque continues to lead the job production parade among New Mexico’s metro areas. Wage jobs in the Duke City increased by 10,000 between November 2017 and November 2018.
The numbers, which are preliminary, are in the Labor Market Review newsletter, released late today by the Department of Workforce Solutions.
Albuquerque grabbed 55% of the 18,100 new wage jobs reported statewide (a 2.1% increase) for the November to November year. These preliminary numbers will take a big in early March when a cleaner set of statistics are plugged in. For now, though, the good cheer of 2%+ job growth will carry into the new year.
The other three metro areas did grow, just a lot less than Albuquerque. In alphabetical order, it was Farmington, +400 jobs, 0.8%; Las Cruces, +500 jobs, 0.7%; Santa Fe, +500 job, 0.8%.
The big growth for Albuquerque came in professional and business services, up 3,500, and leisure and hospitality, up 2,000.
Government added 2,200 jobs with 1,400, or 64%, in state government as Gov. Susana Martinez prepared to end her eight years in office.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Employment Supposedly Grows 2.1%. Downward Adjustment Expected

For November, New Mexico joined 40 other states with a stable unemployment rate. We held at 4.6%. We had the nation’s largest unemployment rate decline over the past year (-1.4 percentage points).
Alaska kept the nation’s highest unemployment rate with 6.3%. We are tied with Ohio for seventh place. The five states between us and Alaska include those perennial favorites, Mississippi and West Virginia.
Our 2.1% increase in employment (17,700 jobs), year over year, is considered statistically significant by the Bureau of Labor Statistics which prepares the numbers and sends them to the states to massage. The Department of Workforce Solutions released the November employment numbers about 3:30 this afternoon.
The guess from state economists is that these pretty 2%+ job increase numbers will be statistically adjusted down about a percentage point early next year. Fake news?The change will come as part of an annual rebasing of job reports.
Leisure and hospitality (tourism) continues to lead sector job production on a not seasonally adjusted basis with employment growing 7,000 jobs, an astonishing 7.3%, between Novembers. Construction followed with 3,000 jobs for a 4.3% increase statewide.
Professional and business services grew by 2,500, followed by transportation, up 1,700, and health care and social assistance, up 1,400.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Unemployment Rate Drop Leads Nation

New Mexico’s wage job production continues to rock along, at least in Albuquerque and the rural counties.
Statewide, there was a net of 23,100 wage jobs that appeared between October 2017 and October 2018, a 2.8% increase. Albuquerque scored the same 2.8% growth which meant 11,000 new metro Duke City jobs over the year.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released the numbers yesterday in the Labor Market Review newsletter.
Seasonally adjusted, our job gain was 2.7%. Utah appears to have tied Washington with a 3.3% gain that was second nationally. (Nevada led.) Colorado was “down” with us with a 2.7% gain. New Mexico’s seasonally adjusted year-over-year drop in the unemployment rate—from 6% to 4.6% led the states.
Among the other three metro areas, Santa Fe did OK with 800 new jobs, a 1.3% increase. Farmington gained 100 jobs, Las Cruces lost 200.
Among the sectors, statewide leisure and hospitality (mostly tourism) led with 7,400 new jobs, year over year, a 7.7% gain. (Lament: Oh, those low paying jobs…) Professional and business services followed with a 5.2% gain and 5,500 jobs. At 5.7%, transportation, warehousing and utilities were another big percentage gainer. The sector added 1,400 jobs.
Government added a net of 500 jobs. The gain came in local government, up 2,000. State government offset by losing 1,200 jobs. State government added 1,300 jobs in metro Albuquerque.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Home Sales Continue Up on Year-Over-Year Basis

As interest rates edged up, the October surprise in the metro Albuquerque market for single family detached homes is a drop of just 14 units from September to make 1,017 closed sales during the month. The percentage change was a minus 1.4% from the 1,031 closed sales during September. The October closed sales represented a 3.6% increase from 982 closed sales during October 2017.
Deals are getting done. October’s closed sales consumed nearly all the 1,037 sales that were pending in September. During October pending sales increased to 1,094, up 54 units, or 5.2%, from September.
Those 1,017 October sales closed in an average of 43 days, a period three days, or 6.5%, faster than a year before, but three days longer than the 40-day average sales period during September. The 43-day average time on market was the longest since 46 days during April.
The 1,337 homes listed for sale during October was up from the last two Octobers. It was 1,315 during October 2017 and 1,224 a year earlier. However, 22 fewer homes entered the market during October than during September, a month with 30 days where October has 31.
The median price of those October closed sales—$199,000—was flat during October, both as compared to September 2018 and to October 2017. For attached homes (townhouses and condos), it was different. The October median price—$160,500—was highest of 2018, up from $150,000 in September and from $151,500 during October 2017.
The average price dropped $5,080 from October 2017 to $231,462 in October 2018 and was down $7,820 from September. October’s average price was the lowest since March.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Eddy and Lea Counties and Metro Abq Lead September Wage Job Growth

New Mexico continued a strong job performance in the year from September 2017 to September 2018. The state added 19,600 wage jobs for a 2.3% increase over the year.
The Department of Workforce Services released detailed September job numbers late this afternoon in its Labor Market Review newsletter.
Metro Albuquerque kept pace with the state, scoring 2.3% wage job growth for the year, the result of 9,000 new jobs. The Albuquerque performance was good for 46% of the state’s net new wage jobs.
Job growth in the state’s other three metro areas shuffled along with Farmington the unlikely “hot spot,” reporting 1.2% growth (600 jobs), Las Cruces with 0.4% growth (300 jobs) and no change in Santa Fe’s job levels for the year.
Te real growth was in Eddy and Lea counties, both back to booming with Permian Basin oil and gas production. For the counties we must count “employment,” which is a bit different from wage jobs, but close enough for our purposes. Eddy County employment was 30,244 during September 2018. That’s 9% growth for the September to September year and an employment increase of 2,506. Lea County employment grew by 2,353, a 9.1% increase to 28,127.
Combined, metro Albuquerque and Lea and Eddy counties grabbed 71% of the year-over-year growth.
A curiosity is that, statewide, mining (and logging) show a one-year of a mere 100 jobs. Go figure.
The growing sectors across the state were leisure and hospitality (+5,100 or 5.2%), professional and business services (+4,300 or 4.1%) and construction (+3,700 or 8%).
Professional and business services (+4,200 or 6.9%) led the metro Albuquerque year-over-year growth, followed by construction (+1,200 or 5.1%). Note that the professional and business services growth outside Albuquerque was 100 jobs.
In the newsletter, DWS passed along some demographic estimates for 2017 from the Census Bureau.
At 48.8% Hispanic, New Mexico isn’t quite a majority Hispanic, but is much more Hispanic than the nation which is 18.1% Hispanic. We are also 3.5 percentage points more “white only,” 75.8% to 72.3%.
A compared to the nation, New Mexico is a bit younger, with both more children under 14 and more adults over 65.
We move less often than does the rest of the nation, but it seems that the people who do move were born in New Mexico. Natives to the state (meaning people born in New Mexico) comprise 53.4% of New Mexicans as compared to 58.2% of the nation. It’s those young families who leave seeking opportunity and the rest resting on the claimed wisdom of centuries of family residence.