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.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Metro Abq Home Sales Show Seasonal Drop

During September, Metro Albuquerque sales of single family detached homes went back to the seasonal pattern of declining sales month over month. Closed sales peaked in May at 1,240 units, then dropped for two months before a slight increase to 1,192 units.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the September sales report last week.
The September performance was 1,031 sales, a 5.1% drop from August, which had an extra day. The sales were 3.1% ahead of September 2017. Of the past 12 months, on closed sales in June have been behind the same month as 2017.
Pending sales show the same pattern—two months of decline after the 2018 high in June, an increase in August to 1,164 and then a 127 unit, or 11%, decline in September to 1,037. The September pending performance was 22.1% ahead of September 2018.
Homes sold after an average of 40 days on the market, which ties May and June for the shortest sales period of the past year. Home took 43 days to sell during September 2017.
The median sales price dropped $15,010 to $199,990 from $215,000 in August, which was the highest median price of the year. The median price in September 2017 was $201,000. The September 2018 median price was 0.5% less.
In August the average price hit a 12-month high of $252,096. The average price in September was $239,282, a $12,814, or 5.1% drop.
The inventory of homes offered for sale—3,298 in September—dropped for the second month. The 12-month high was 3,728 homes during October 2017. There were 4,331 homes offered for sale during September 2016.
Mortgage rates, up about a point during the past year, are squeezing demand.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Gary Johnson Senate Campaign

The hot news here is that there is a Gary Johnson campaign. Johnson is the Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Martin Heinrich, a Democrat.
Last night about 5 PM I heard a radio ad for Johnson. Then about an hour later a man knocked on my door seeking voter preference indications for the Senate race. He asked about Johnson first, so I take it he was working for Johnson.
The other candidate is Marc Rich, a Republican, who has put up a few signs.
It seems a bit curious that the Johnson campaign would spend staff on my heavily democratic precinct north of the University of New Mexico. But, hey, such decisions are not my decisions.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Albuquerque: 6,900 New Wage Jobs; Las Cruces 1,200 Fewer

The continuing mystery of Las Cruces is one headline from the new issue of the Labor Market Review newsletter released late this afternoon by the Department of Workforce Solutions.
These numbers are not seasonally adjusted unless otherwise noted.
Wage jobs in Las Cruces dropped 1,200, or 1.7%, in the year between August 2017 and August 2018.
Metro Albuquerque scored nearly half the state’s 16,100 new wage jobs with a 6,900 job increase, or 2%, for the August to August year.
Metro Santa Fe (Santa Fe County) added 1,100 jobs with metro Farmington (San Juan County) showing a nice change with 900 new jobs, a 1.9% increase.
For the month between July and August, Albuquerque’s net was not much, a job increase of 100, which DWS observed in droll economistese, “represented zero percent growth after rounding.”
Construction lost 800 jobs, leisure and hospitality was down 400 with finance down 300. Professional and business services added 400 jobs; retail, 200; education and health services, 200; and information and manufacturing, both up 100. State government saved the day with 700 additional jobs.
For the year in Albuquerque, professional and business services drove the growth with 4,100 new jobs, a 6.7% increase. State government grew by 1,900 jobs.
In Santa Fe the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7% in July and 3.8% in August. Hardly anyone in Santa Fe wanting a job is unemployed.
For the month, the number of wage jobs dropped 800 in Santa Fe with the losses in the private sector. Over the year, leisure and hospitality added 800 jobs, a 7.1% increase. Education and health services added 400 jobs, for 3.7% growth.
In Las Cruces, government added 1,300 jobs and total wage jobs grew by 1,600. For year, government lost 1,300 jobs.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Job Growth Slips from 2.2% in July to 1.9% for August

Distracted, again. The Department of Workforce Solutions released the initial August job numbers on Friday, September 21. Here are those numbers.
Wage job growth between August 2017 and August 2018 slipped from July with the percentage growth, 1.9%, down from 2.2% for the July to July year, and the 16,900 job increase was down from 17,900 for July. The unemployment rate, 4.6% in August, continued to drop. The rate was 6% in August 2017. That’s almost a 25% drop in a year. Nice.
Primary sectors all grew nicely. Leisure and hospitality against led the sector job production with 5,500 jobs, a 5.5% increase. The percentage growth was 6.6% in July with 6,500 new jobs. I stick with the theory that the leisure and hospitality growth has much more to do with the national economic health and with the performance of New Mexico’s neighbors such as Utah and Colorado, which are booming or close to it. Those resident are bringing some of their spare money here.
Professional and business services added 4,000 jobs for 3.8% growth. Construction gained 2,300 jobs, or 5%. The smaller mining sector added 700 jobs for 3.3% growth. Even manufacturing added 700 jobs for a 3.8% increase.
Transportation, warehousing and utilities added 1,700 jobs, a nice 7% increase, possibly in part reflecting drilling growth in Lea and Eddy counties; you’ve got transport all that petroleum somehow.
Arizona’s 4.6% August unemployment rate tied New Mexico. West Virginia, Mississippi and Louisiana have pushed ahead of New Mexico in unemployment ranking. Alaska retains the nation’s highest rate with 6.7% followed by the District of Columbia.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

During August, Abq Single Family Home Prices Post 2018 High

The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the August sales report eight days ago. Our time slipped away to Santa Fe and Las Cruces. Here are the numbers, belatedly.
Sales closed for single family detached homes in metro Albuquerque were 1,171 during August. That’s up 4.8% from August 2017 and less, 2%, from July 2018. Closed sales were 1,240 in May, the 2018 high, and 1212 in June. The homes with the sale closed during August were on the market for an average 41 days, three days longer than during July and a day more than June, but three days, or 6.8%, less than the 44 days for August 2017.
My former rule-of-thumb relationship between sales closed in one month and sales pending in the previous month is upset if not destroyed. It seems that nearly all the sales pending in one month are closing the next month. For example, the 1,171 sales closed during August followed 1,144 pending sales during July. The old 45-day closing period now looks more like 30 days.
Prices continue up. Both the median and the average prices during August increased more than six percent from August 2017. August’s sales prices were the highest of 2018.
The median price for August was $215,000, a $7,500, or 3.6%, increase from July. The June median price was $211,670.
The average price grew $5,070 during August to $251,598, a $5,070 hike, or 2.1%.
There were 3,326 homes available for sale during August, a 16.4% drop.
So let’s see: With a reduced supply, we find higher prices.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Martinez Legacy Claims Are Nonsense

Gov. Susana Martinez seems to be operating on the theory that if you say something often enough, people will believe. I once knew a radio sales manager with the same theory.
On December 13, 2017, the Albuquerque Journal’s Dan McKay reported on fliers mailed by a non-profit group New Mexico Legacy. The fliers touted the Martinez record. McKay’s email inquiry to group secretary Jessica Perez drew a response from Jay McCleskey, consigliere to Gov. Susan Martinez.
New Mexico Legacy is back. The corporate officials remain as McKay reported: President, Amy Orlando, Treasurer, Rob Doughty and Jessica Perez, secretary. The listed address is 3736 Eubank Blvd NE, Suite B-3. Doughty, an attorney, is a member of the University of New Mexico board or regents.
The New Mexico Legacy reappearance came in the form of an email I received this afternoon at 2:29.
The email copy said some untrue things and vastly exaggerated others. In the email she claims credit for “turning the largest budget deficit in state history into a $1.2 billion surplus (without raising taxes).” That happy $1.2 billion of “new money” happened because the Permian and Delaware Basins in southeast New Mexico turned into the hottest oil production places in the nation, not because Martinez did anything.
Martinez claims credit for “the unemployment rate dropping from 7.7% in 2011 to under 5% today.” The rate dropped because of the national economic performance somehow dropping through to New Mexico, not because Martinez did anything. Our healthy tourism sector is because people in other states such as Texas and Colorado are prospering and therefore have extra money to spending in New Mexico.
Martinez claims she “has cut taxes and fees 61 times.” Martinez used to talk about 37 tax cuts. I assume the 37 were included in the 61. I reviewed the 37 in a February 2017 column. Two of the bills increased tax rates, one changed definitions and 34 cut taxes. One tax cut winner was a property tax exemption for property owned by a veteran’s organization and used for organization activities. (HB 437 in 2011).
On the website,, Martinez claims the $1.2 billion under the headline, “Balancing the Budget.” That the budget was balanced is a standard claim of governors. The claim is specious. The constitution requires that the budget be balanced. Besides, the legislature, in particular the Legislative Finance Committee, has a whole lot to do with budget balancing.
Overall, the Martinez email is bullshit.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Job Growth, Much Improved, Remains Well Behind Neighboring States

Wage jobs grew 2.2%, or 8,600, in Albuquerque for the year between July 2017 and July 2018. That was the same percentage growth turned in by the entire state for the year.
New Mexico’s 2.2% year over year increase tied for 15th placed nationally with Massachusetts. That said, our neighbors remain well ahead. Utah’s 3.9% job growth led the nation. Texas grew 3.2%, Colorado, 3.1% and Arizona, 2.7%.
The figures come from the July issue of the Labor Market Review, the newsletter of the Department of Workforce Solutions, which was released yesterday afternoon.
For the state’s other three metro areas, well, not so much. Santa Fe added 1,000 jobs for 1.6% growth. Farmington added 300, a 0.6% increase for the year.
Las Cruces wage employment shrank by 700 jobs, or 1.0%.
Professional and business services led the Albuquerque growth with a 6.1% increase, or 3,700 jobs. With a 7.3% increase that meant 1,700 new jobs, construction led the percentage growth.
Leisure and hospitality, which led statewide sector growth with 6,500 jobs, or 6.6%, brought only 900 of those jobs to metro Albuquerque.
The Las Cruces job losses come in the face of firms around the Santa Teresa port of entry hiring as fast as possible. Just over half the Santa Teresa workers come from El Paso, a function of proximity and El Paso’s larger labor pool.
Las Cruces has been in a job loss mode for most of the past 18 months. Government seems to have carried the burden of producing those job losses.
Leisure and hospitality led Santa Fe’s growth with 800 new jobs over the year, a 7% increase.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Job Growth Over 2% For Second Month

New Mexico’s job growth was 2.2% for the year between July 2018 and July 2018, according to the report released by the Department of Workforce Solutions this afternoon. That means 17,900 new jobs, on a seasonally unadjusted basis, with about a third, or 6,500, in the leisure and hospitality sector, which has tourism as a big component. Construction continued the rapid growth with a 4,200 job increase, or 9.1%.
Make the seasonal adjustment and the statewide growth is 13,400, or 1.6%, still not bad.
With 4.7% unemployment in July, New Mexico slipped from its long hold on the nation’s third highest state unemployment rate. In addition to Alaska (6.9 %), clinging to its first place with the highest rate, three other states beat New Mexico. They are West Virginia (5.4 percent), Louisiana (4.9 percent), Mississippi (4.8 percent) and the District of Columbia (5.6 percent).
New Mexico went from 6.1% unemployed in July 2017 to 4.7%, more than double the improvement of the next three improving states, all with a 0.6-point change. They are Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.
The labor force has grown to 943,004 in July 2018, an 11,000 one-year increase. The number of unemployed has dropped about 14,500 over the year, to 47,547.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Up and Downs in July for Metro Albuquerque Real Estate

Nationally a decline in single family home sales is projected for August and September, by RedFin Corp. a brokerage and website firm. The National Association of Realtors projected pending sales would be lower in June, on a year-over-year basis, the sixth month of decline.
The national picture isn’t quite the metro Albuquerque picture, nor are constant increases.
For single family detached home in metro Albuquerque, July registered 1,121 sales closed, a 3.5% increase from July 2018, but down 92 units from 1,213 sales in June, an 8% drop. Homes that had the sales close during July were on the market an average of 38 days, two days less than the 40-day average sale time in May and June.
The Greater Association of Realtors released the July sales report yesterday.
May was the sales peak for the year, so far. Closed sales were 1,240 in May.
Pending sales are an exception, peaking at 1,271 in July, 107 deals, or 9%, ahead of 1,164 in June and 1,234 in May. Those 1,271 pending sales were 15.5% ahead o a year ago. The strong performance suggests a rebound for closed sales in August.
The market continues to tighten. With 3,524 homes available, June was the 2018 inventory peak. The inventory dropped to 3,368 in July. The inventory was down 588 homes, or 14.2% from 3,926 in July 2017. July saw 1,607 new listings hit the market, down 1.3% or 27 units from a year ago. With 1,890 new listing, May was the 2018 peak.
Average prices have trended up since January, except for a small stumble to $238,466 in May. The average price was $246,862, up $2,171 or 0.9% from June and 3.7% above July 2017.
At $211,490, the median price broke the $210,000 ceiling in June but dropped $3,490, or 1.6% in July to $208,000.
The average price for an attached home (a townhouse or condominium) was $158,398, second lowest of 2018, head only of the $156,292 in February.

Monday, July 30, 2018

DWS Projections Show Ten-Year Job Growth At Less Than 1% Annually

With 5,200 new jobs generated in June on a year-over-year basis, Albuquerque provided less than a third of the state’s 17,300 new wage jobs. This is a big step down from May when the Duke City provided 7,300 new jobs, 51% of the 13,800 jobs for the month.
Statewide, the June to June growth saw 17,300 new wage jobs for 2.1% growth. That put New Mexico in a tie with four other states for 12th place in percentage growth. Those states are Oregon, Tennessee, New Hampshire and South Dakota. Amazing.
Last week’s report that New Mexico remained in third place for unemployment rates with 4.9% unemployed missed something. We are actually in fourth place behind West Virginia (5.3%), District of Columbia (5.6%) and Alaska, the longtime leader at 7.1%.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released the detailed June job report today as part of the Labor Market Review newsletter.
For the other metros, Santa Fe added 1,200 jobs over the year. Farmington was up 600 and Las Cruces dropped
In Albuquerque professional and business services showed the largest sector gain, both in number with 3,900 jobs and percent with a 6.4% increase. The PBS sector “only” added 4,300 jobs statewide. Leisure and hospitality added 1,100 jobs in Albuquerque, 22% of the sector’s 4,900 new jobs statewide. Local government dropped 2,800 jobs during June, dragging the sector to a 2,600 job loss for the year.
In Las Cruces, government accounted for 800 of the total 900 lost jobs.
Government lost 400 jobs in Santa Fe where the one big increase was leisure and hospitality with 900 more jobs over the year.
From a 2016 base of 861,820, the Department of Workforce Solutions projects that employment in the state will add 57,580 jobs by 2026. That would bring employment to 919,400. The growth for the ten-year period will be 6.7%, or less than one percent per year or hardly at all. Such projection necessarily start with what we have, which, in 2016, was years of slight if any job growth. The projections assume no change in what we had in 2016. The projection, therefore, is “more of the same.”
Health care and social assistance with 25,960 jobs, or a 19.5% increase, leads the sectors. Accommodation and food services, tourism, sort of, is second with 7,120 jobs, or 7.9% growth.
DWS initially distributed the Labor Market Review using May's detailed sector for Albuquerque. It took about 90 minutes to fix the error and redistribute the issue. Nice save, guys.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Jobs Growth Breaks 2% Barrier. Employment Percentage Stays Low

Year over year wage job growth cracked the 2% barrier in June. This is a major hurdle; 2% jobs growth pretty much doesn’t happen in the state. The June 2017 to June 2018 year saw 17,300 new wage jobs for 2.1% growth, on a not seasonally adjusted basis. With adjustment, the growth was 1.5%.
The private sector provided 15,900 jobs with 1,400 in the public sector. The government jobs came from local government, up 3,700 jobs including 2,200 in education. The state dropped 1,500 jobs and the feds lost 800.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released the June job figures this afternoon.
At 0.2 percentage points, New Mexico tied Pennsylvania and South Carolina for the largest drop in unemployment, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even with the drop, New Mexico keeps third place in unemployment rates with 4.9% unemployed. Alaska kept the unemployment rate lead with 7.1%. Washington, D.C., has 5.6%. With 4.7% unemployment, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Washington (state) are closing on New Mexico.
New Mexico’s labor force has grown by 25,000 since May 2017.
Leisure and hospital was the big sector gainer with 4,900 new wages jobs from June 2017 to June 2018. Professional and business services followed with 4,300 new jobs. The two sectors have substantial numbers of basic industry jobs.
Trade, transportation, and utilities chipped in with 2,200 new jobs. Financial businesses followed with 1,500 jobs.
Another June milestone was reporting zero counties with more than 10% unemployment. Luna County, the longtime carrier of the 10% plus unemployment standard, somehow found 1,150 new jobs between May and June that dropped the county unemployment rate to nine percent.
Lea and Eddy counties provided 4,400 jobs, year over year, with 2,300 in Lea and 2,100 in Eddy. Thank you Permian Basin.
My wet blanket for the month is the employment to population ratio. For 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says, New Mexico held at third from the bottom with just 53.9% of the population employed. West Virginia remains the lowest at 50.5% followed by Mississippi at 53.1%.
North Dakota has 69.6 percent of its people employed, followed by Minnesota at 53.9% and Minnesota at 53.9%.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Abq Single Family Homes Sales Drop by 11 in June. Wow!

Sales dropped 11 units during June from May for single family detached homes in metro Albuquerque. That’s 0.92%. The performance was down 58 units, or 4.7%, from June 2017.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the June sales report yesterday.
Pending sales in one month offer a rough indication of closed sales the following month. June’s pending sales of 1,279 homes was 94 fewer that the 1,373 sales pending during May. However the June pending performance was up 154 from June 2017, a healthy 13,7% increase.
Homes continue to sell quickly. Homes sold during June was on the market just 40 days, on average, the same as May and a week less than during June 2017. This average sales period is the shortest of the past year.
Month-over-month, the median price has increased since January when it was $189,000. The June median price was $212,500. The median was $199,950 for June 2017, and, for May 2018, it was $209,000.
With the exception of a blip during May 2018, the average price also has increased in since January. The average price was $238,458 in May, $244,365 during June, and $242,360 for June 2017.
The inventory of homes offered for sale has been increasing each month since February. The inventory was 3,297 for June, down 15.4% from 3,899 June 2017.