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 (eig.org)

“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. Wallethub.com, 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
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.