Friday, July 29, 2016

All Four NM Metro Areas Add June Jobs

All four New Mexico metro areas added jobs in June, something of a rarity. The Department of Workforce Solutions released the numbers today in its Labor Market Review newsletter.
The metro areas accounted for 11,000 new wage jobs (not seasonally adjusted) in the year from June 2015 to June 2016. Rural counties generated 3,000 new wage jobs, year over year, to produce the statewide total of 14,000 jobs. The statewide job growth was a 1.7%, good for a heady 25th place among state job growth rates. New Mexico tied with Ohio. One can just imagine Susana Martinez and John Kasich jointly touting their state’s “success.”
Metro Albuquerque added 9,100 jobs, a 2.4% increase, with 1,000 in Santa Fe, 800 in Las Cruces and 100 in Farmington.
In Albuquerque, education and health services (i.e., mostly Medicaid) showed 3,500 new wage jobs, year over year. Professional and business services, full of basic industry types such as computer consultants, showed 2,500 new jobs, followed by leisure and hospitality with 1,900 jobs. The three sectors produced 7,900 jobs, over the year, 87% of metro Albuquerque’s new jobs.
Education and health services had 800 new jobs in Santa Fe over the year with another 500 from leisure and hospitality (tourism). Together the two sectors found 1,300 new jobs, year over year, meaning that all other economic activity in the City Different combined to lose 300 jobs. DWS reminded us that the City of Santa Fe will lay off 40 employees to closed a $12 million (or so) budget hole. The job losers, all classified as 90-day emergency hires, have been employed for up to eight years.
In Las Cruces, education and health services dominated with 1,000 new jobs, 200 more than the metro’s 800 new jobs.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Seasonally Adjust the Job Numbers and Nice Increase Drops 45%

No real new news came from the June jobs release this afternoon from the Department Workforce Solutions. The year over year (June 2015 to June 2016) wage job increase figure did improve to 14,000, almost five times the 2,900 new jobs reported from May 2015 to May 2016. So I guess that’s news. The performance is not considered statistically significant by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also released figures today.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the BLS said, the year over year increase as 7,700, or 0.93%. Seasonally adjusted, the state has added 2,000 jobs since April. Not much.
At 6.2%, the state’s June unemployment rate remains statistically significantly higher than the national rate of 4.9%.
The same-old-same-old is that 70% of the increase, or 9,800 jobs, came from the education and health services sector, which mostly means Medicaid.
Another 5,300 jobs came from leisure and hospitality, which is mostly tourism and is having a good year, according to the Tourism Department. The sector’s 5.9% increase was the largest, DWS said, since sector sectors began in 1990.
Mining (mostly oil and gas production) and logging added 400 jobs during May. The year over year loss was 5,900 jobs, the smallest since November 2015. This report is consistent with national reports that oil production firms are adding a few jobs.
Between May and June unemployment grew another 332 people, a 13.2% jump, and at 9.7% ranked third highest in the state. The Farmington unemployment rate is 9.1%.
Professional and business services, home to landscape architects and technical consultants, added 3,900 jobs over the year, a nice 3.8% increase. The PBS sector reclaimed the 100,000-job level in April.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

El Paso Job Growth Highest Since Recession

From Southwest Economy, a quarterly publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.)dallasfed.org/assets/documents/research/swe/2016/swe1602h.pdf)
"El Paso boomed in 2015, posting its highest rate of job growth since before the Great Recession while the rest of the state slowed markedly. El Paso continues to outperform the state but has decelerated somewhat, with employment declines in the goods-producing sector out- weighed by job creation in the services sector.
"The El Paso Business-Cycle Index expanded an an- nualized 1.8 percent in April. Job creation and a decline in the unemployment rate have contributed to business-cycle gains.
"El Paso employment grew at an annualized monthly rate of 2.1 percent in April. Job growth was mixed across industries. Leisure and hospitality gained the most at 14.1 percent. Trade, transportation and utilities continued to be fast growing, rising 11 percent. The increases may be linked to strong manufacturing activity south of the Rio Grande.
"—Adapted from El Paso Economic Indicators, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, May 2016"

Monday, July 11, 2016

Average Sale Period Drops to 45 Days

The circle is virtuous in the world residential real estate in metro Albuquerque, according to the June Market Report released today by the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors (gaar.com).
At least life is good to the real estate sales people and the sellers. For buyers, perhaps less so. If one wants a home, one has to pay.
The supply is low with 3,553 homes available. At the present sales pace, it would take 4.17 months to sell the available homes. An “average market is traditionally a six-month supply,” the GAAR report says.
Those homes are selling quickly with an average number of days on the market at 45, down from 49 in May and 57 in April. In January 2015, it took an average of 81 days for a home to sell.
The sale of 1,076 homes closed during June, up 9% from both May 2016 and June 2015. The average price of those homes was $235,110, up almost $22,000 from June 2014. The average price during June was pushed by the sale of four homes in the $1 million or more price group. The median price was $199,000 and increase of $6,000, or 3%, from May and a jump of $14,000 from April. The median price was 4.3% more than the $190,788 seen in June 2015.
A note of caution appears in the drop of the number of pending sales from 1,215 in May to 1,173 in June.
Through the first six months of 2016, the sale has closed on 5,636 homes, an 11% increase from the same period in 2015.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Taos, "A Living Symbol." Of What? Notes from NM Quarterly

The notes that follow were taken by Harold Morgan, copying from the summer 1951 issue of New Mexico Quarterly. At the Harwood Gallery (The Gallery is in Taos. The exhibit runs May 22 to September 11.) exhibit about Mabel Dodge Luhan, a page from the Quarterly was open. For some reason a phrase stood out—“a living symbol.” The obvious question was, “of what?”
The staff at the Center for Southwest Research at the University of New Mexico’s Zimmerman Library was very helpful in pulling the issue from their basement, which is their procedure. The actual issue does not leave the Center. The alleged communications staffer at Harwood was no help.
The copy on the page proved to be an editor’s note from George Arms, who said,
“In this issue the Quarterly is happy to present a section on Taos by writers of Taos. For the world Taos has become a living symbol, and it is rewarding to have this symbol explored in these pages.”
The contributors were Mabel Dodge Luhan, Frieda Lawrence (widow of D.H. Lawrence and still living in Taos in 1951), Alexandra Fechin (wife of Nicolai, Russian artist, whose home is now the Taos Art Museum), Frank Waters (novelist), Andrew Dasburg (painter), Kenneth Adams (painter), Spud Johnson, Laura Gilpin (photographer), Carl Van Vechten (photographer), John Candelario (photographer) and Henry Prior Clark.
Luhan, the first of the contributors, wrote, “People used to come to Taos almost as though they had to.
“Taos brings out the particularity in people. This is the most interesting place in the world, I think.
“There is no standardization here, no social structure. (HM Note: Check with Taos Pueblo on this point.)
“Taos does things to people.
“…mysterious enlightenment of our Taos ambiente” (atmosphere or environment).

The Alexandra Fechin article was, “European Aspects of Cosmopolitan Taos.”

Other visitors to Luhan in Taos included Thornton Wilder (playwright and novelist), Willa Cather (novelist, “Death Comes for the Archibishop”), Leopold Stokowski and Georgia O’Keefe.

The Taos Society of Artists, a sort of a trade group, was founded in 1915. Wikipedia calls it a commercial cooperative. Luhan came to Taos in 1918.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Abq Leads NM Job Growth

Albuquerque leads the New Mexico economy. For the moment, anyway.
Metro Albuquerque added 5,500 wage jobs in the year between May 2015 and May 2016. (All the numbers here are not seasonally adjusted. The numbers were released Friday, the 24th, by the Department of Workforce Solutions, in the afternoon.)
That’s 2,600 more jobs than the entire state added. Albuquerque’s year-over-year percentage growth was even slightly decent at 1.3%, though behind six states in the region.
Our other three metro areas added 600 wage jobs. Las Cruces wage job total grew by 600, a modest 0.8% increase. Santa Fe, up 100 jobs, offset Farmington, which dropped 100 jobs.
The state held its fourth place national ranking in unemployment rate with 6.2% in May down from 6.6% May 2015. The job increase percentage ranked 43rd at 0.3%.
As usual, education and health services led Albuquerque’s job growth with 2,200 new wage jobs over the year, though down 500 from April. Professional and business services added 1,300 jobs.
On the strength of 900 new state government jobs, government in Albuquerque was up 700 jobs.
Manufacturing continued to erode, down 400 jobs in Albuquerque and another 300 statewide.
Education and health services led the Las Cruces growth with 900 new jobs. In Santa Fe, leisure and hospitality led with 500 jobs as visitor businesses geared up for the summer.
Government got an extended treatment from DWS this month. New Mexico’s combined share of state and local government jobs was 18.7%, good for fifth nationally. Add the feds and government employs 22.3% of New Mexicans, fourth nationally behind Washington, D.C. (31.9%), Wyoming (23.6%) and Alaska (23%). The caveat on New Mexico’s numbers is that our national laboratories are nominally in the private sector as they are managed by private firms.
The government employment percentage in New Mexico has dropped from 24.2% in 2010. Local government employment has increased by 34 jobs to 102,576 between 2006 and 2015.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

State Gains Jobs During May; Thank Bernalillo County

A little bit is happening with New Mexico’s wage job picture. Or at least the Department of Workforce Solutions thinks so. The monthly summary news release, which appeared yesterday, reports 2,900 net new wage jobs between May 2015 and May 2016, a gain of 0.3% for the year.
The year-over-year April to April job loss of 300 went away with the disappearance of the mystery loss for the April-to-April year of 1,600 jobs in leisure and hospitality. DWS called it a “significant upward revision” and offered nothing more.
In the sectors, not seasonally adjusted, education and health services (+5,200) and leisure and hospitality (3,400) continue to rock. Professional and business services is doing decently with a year-over-year gain of 1,900 jobs or just over 2%. Nearly all the government gain of 1,400 jobs came from local government, up 1,200 jobs. Local government education, meaning the public schools, was down 300, perhaps reflecting the end of school.
Mining and logging (mostly oil and gas production) remain the biggest loser, down 6,500 for the year and 900 during May. Transportation, warehousing and utilities dropped 1,400 jobs over the year, an impressive 5.7% loss. DWS offered no explanation. Manufacturing lost another 700 jobs. Retail dropped 700 with another 100 lost in wholesale trade.
The release shows county numbers for labor force, employment (different from wage jobs) and unemployment. The combined Eddy and Lea County figures don’t explain the mining/logging job loss, nor should they. I would have expected them to be closer. Employment in Eddy and Lea County combined dropped 2,933 year-over-year. Lea County lost 1,744. Eddy lost 1,189. That’s a 5.3% drop from the May 2015 combined employment of 55,322.
Statewide the employment gain was 2,473. In Bernalillo County the gain was 4,239, meaning that the rest of the state lost 1,766 jobs, a performance attributable to Lea and Eddy counties.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Metro Single Family Home Prices Highest Since 2008

During May median and average prices for metro Albuquerque single-family detached homes hit the highest level for May since 2008, the year of the market peak.
With 984 closed sales during May, up nine percent from May 2015 and with a 54 unit or six percent from April, sales continued improving. Those 984 sales closed in an average of 49 days, eight days faster than April and 13 days quicker than May 2015. The average sale period was 70 days in February.
The number of pending sales during May—1,215—showed a miniscule four-unit increase from April and declined 19 units of 1.5% from May 2015, suggesting a slowing of the sales pace. During May 81% of April’s 1,211 pending sales turned into closed sales.
The median sales price was $193,000 during May, an $8,000 increase from April and up $12,000 from May 2015.
The $228,457 average sales price for May was up $11,000 from April and increased $10,000 from May 2015. Both the median and average price were the highest since the beginning of 2014.
For condos and townhouses, the average ($151,686) and median ($147,250) price dropped slightly during May.
Detached homes in the $200,000 to $249,000 price remained the biggest sellers. During May five homes sold in the $750,000 to $999,000 group and two sold for $1 million or more.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Eight States Lose Jobs in April; NM Loses the Fewest

The detailed wage job numbers for April, released late this afternoon by the Department of Workforce Solutions, confirm that metro Albuquerque is doing almost decently and certainly better than everywhere else in New Mexico. The figures below are not seasonally adjusted.
Albuquerque gained 3,200 jobs for the month and 4,700 for the year between April 2015 and April 2016. The year-over-year increase was 1.2%, hardly stellar, but far better than the state and other metro areas.
Farmington continued its unhappy performance with a 400-job loss, or 0.78%, over the year. Santa Fe added 500 jobs. Education and Health Services, up 500 jobs for the year, explains the Santa Fe growth.
Las Cruces added 200. The Las Cruces growth came on the strength of 900 more jobs in Education and Health Services, a 6.2% increase. Other Las Cruces sectors either lost a little or showed no change for the month.
In metro Albuquerque, as elsewhere, Education and Health Services led the growth, up 5.2%, or 3,200 jobs, year over year. Professional and business services added 1,400 jobs while state government chipped in with 1,000.
The state’s loss of 300 jobs led the eight job-loser states in the sense of the smallest percentage drop. New Mexico’s 6.6% unemployment rate is fourth among the states after the District of Columbia, West Virginia and Nevada. Only one New Mexico county, Luna, has an unemployment rate over ten percent. The Luna rate is 15.6%.
Oil production is the state’s job problem these days with aggregate mining and logging sector down 6,400 jobs or about 25% year-over-year. This reverses the situation of the last ten years or so where oil and gas production has provided nearly all the job growth.

Monday, May 23, 2016

NM Metro Areas: Successful Aging

A recent column discussed the characteristics of New Mexico's metro areas as places for older people. The information came from a report by the Milken Foundation of Los Angeles. The locations for the data about state cities is:
From the Milken institute

Large cities Madison #1
http://successfulaging.milkeninstitute.org/bcsa2014.taf?page=metro&year=2014&mcode=C31540&pop=large

#100 Stockton-Lodi, CA

Albuquerque #67

http://successfulaging.milkeninstitute.org/bcsa2014.taf?page=metro&mcode=C10740&pop=large

Small Cities
#1 Iowa City #252 Vineland/Bridgeton, NJ

Santa Fe #76

http://successfulaging.milkeninstitute.org/bcsa2014.taf?page=metro&year=2014&mcode=C42140&pop=small

Las Cruces #140
http://successfulaging.milkeninstitute.org/bcsa2014.taf?page=metro&year=2014&mcode=C29740&pop=small

Farmington #169
http://successfulaging.milkeninstitute.org/bcsa2014.taf?page=metro&year=2014&mcode=C22140&pop=small

Friday, May 20, 2016

State Job Picture Nets Nothing. Abq improves 1%.

Some economic improvement seems to be happening in Albuquerque, meaning Bernalillo County. In April, as compared to April 2015, the labor force was up 2,500. Employment was up 5,000 and unemployment was down 2,400. The employment gain is about 1.3%, so hold the excitement. The net is a 4.9% unemployment rate for April.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released the job report this afternoon.
The state is another story. Basically, oil offset welfare for a net of nothing.
The wage job total dropped 300, April to April. Since all these ever so precise numbers come from estimates, the total could just as well have been a 300-job increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics review of statistically significant job happenings during the month left out New Mexico. The NM DWS gets the numbers from the BLS.
Mining, meaning, mostly, oil and gas has lost a quarter of its jobs since April 2015. More are coming (or going). A potash mine is closing in Carlsbad. Intrepid Potash is putting its West facility into what it calls “a care and maintenance mode” in July and laying off 300 employees. Intrepid got 42% of its potash production from the West facility in 2015, the company said.
The sectors with larger job increases were education and health services, plus 6,900 jobs or 5.2%, and professional and business services, plus 1,400 jobs or 1.4%.
A surprise was the 1,600 one-month job loss in leisure and hospitality. DWS’ explanation was the changes appear “to be due to atypical seasonal changes in several subsector areas in the industry.” If you understand that, let me know.
Another DWS explanatory winner was about mining, “Growth fell negative in March 2015 and has declined in every month since January 2015, except the last two months.”

Metro Home Sales Continued to Increase During April

Since January the monthly number of closed sales of single family detached homes in metro Albuquerque has increased 336 units, or 57%. During April there were 930 homes with sales closed. It was 594 in January.
The big leap was between February and March. The pace of increase slowed considerably in April with sales up 34 units or 4% over March. Still, April closed sales were a nice 10.2% over the 844 closed sales in April 2015.
Homes with the sale closing during April sold in an average of 57 days. That was 13 days faster than during April 2015.
Pending sales—1,211 in April—were 3% over March and 2.6% above the 1,180 pending sales in April 2015.
The 1,650 new listings during April were up slightly—23 units—from March and down 1.6% from April 2015. The 3,275 listings active during April were down 17% from a year ago. Active listings are down a third since the recent peak of 5,043 in August 2014.
Both Median and average prices increased during April over the previous year. The $185,000 median price was 4.6% above the $177,500 during April 2015. The average price, $217,616, increased 3.5% or about $7,000 from April 2015, but dropped $535 from March.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Leisure and Hospitality Jobs Up 5.3%, Mining down 25%

The start the year, New Mexico’s job engine (snicker) showed a January 2015 to January 2016 performance of a decrease of 1,800 jobs. The year-over-year “growth” for February was 300, meaning zero, which the Department of Workforce Solutions pointed out before talking about the “month’s very modest gain.”
For March the year-over-year gain was 3,000 jobs, probably enough to mean that indeed a few jobs were added around the state after considering statistical variability.
For the sectors, leisure and hospitality led the percentage growth with a 5.3% increase from 4,800 jobs. The larger education and health services sector led the number gain with 6,800 new jobs, or 5.1%.
Professional and business services (+800 jobs), construction (+700 jobs) and other services (+600) were the other private sector gainers.
Local government added 800 jobs. The devil in that detail is the 800-job loss in local government education, namely the public schools, which means that the rest of local government gained 1,600 jobs.
Mining is down 6,900 jobs, or a bit more than 25%, from a year ago. The sector now has 20,100 jobs.
Employment (different from wage jobs) was up about 5,500 in metro Albuquerque to 392,000. In Farmington, employment dropped about 700 during the year and increased 600 in Las Cruces and 200 in Santa Fe.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Home Sales Jump 40% in March

The February increase in metro Albuquerque sales of single family detached homes appears to have turned into the spring seasonal increase. Closed sales during March jumped 40% from February to 896 units, an 8.3 hike from March 2016.
Those 896 homes sold in an average of 62 days, an eight day improvement from February.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the March sales figures on April 11.
The market remains tight, tilting toward sellers. The adsorption rate is 3.85, indicating that it would take 3.85 months to clear the present inventory of 3198 detached homes.
The negative, if one wants to call it that, is that the March jump was lower than the 49% that sales during March 2015 grew from February 2015.
The March 2016 closed sales were 86% of the 1,040 sales pending during February. For March, pending sales increased to 1,188, up 148 from February, or 14%. The March pending sales were 7.8% ahead of March 2015.
Though still below last fall, prices are doing well for a March. The March median price of $180,000 is the highest March median since 2009. The March median increased $2,000 from February and was up 2.9% from a year ago.
The March average price, $218,141, is also the highest since 2009. The March average was nearly $6,000 more than February, a three percent increase, and a 3.8% increase from March 2015.
Sale of ten detached homes in the $750,000 - $999,000 price range helped the average price. This category had two March sales last year and three in 2015.

Monday, April 4, 2016

ART Draws Lawsuit

The proposed Albuquerque Rapid Transit project has drawn a lawsuit, the Albuquerque Journal reported today. Another suit is expected. While I'm totally outside active participation in this dispute, the suits appear to be part of a delaying approach by opponents. The project would run a bus line using fancy buses down the middle of Central Ave., eating two of the four present traffic lanes. Opposition has been vehement.