Thursday, June 28, 2007


The city Albuquerque population passed the half million mark around the end of 2005 to be 504,949 as of July 1, 2006. The city added 10,472 residents between 2005 and 2006. Albuquerque ranked 19th for the number of new residents during the period among cities with a population of more than 500,000, and, with a 2.1 percent increase, was sixth in percentage growth. Rio Rancho's population of 71,607 in 2006 is nearly 20,000 more than in 2000.
The Census Bureau shows 258 cities with a population of more than 100,000. Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Farmington don't make the list. All have more than 100,000 in their metro areas, but fewer than 100,000 in the city. Las Cruces has 86,268 people in 2006. SAnta fe has 72,056 with Farmington at 43,573.
Grenville, in central Union County, has a population of 21, placing it well ahead of Taos Ski Valley and Causey in the competition for being New Mexico's least populous municipality.
See the Economic Data section at for the July 1, 2006, population of the state's 105 incorporated places.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Minority Population

Among the states, New Mexico's percentage of minority population as of July 1, 2006, ranks second, tied with California at 57%, according to Bureau of the Census figures. Hawaii leads with 75%, followed by the District of Columbia, which is not a state, at 68%. Texas, at 52%, was the only other state with a minority population beating 42%.
New Mexico has the highest proportion of Hispanics, well ahead Texas and California.
Alaska had the highest proportion of American Indians and Alaska Natives, the latter being no surprise, at 18% of the total population with New Mexico and Oklahoma next at 11% each.
The table showing the numbers is posted in the economic data section at
The numbers also report that New Mexico gained 135,553 new residents between census time in 2000 and July 1, 2006 when the state's estimated population was 1,954,599. Hispanics accounted for 96,162, or 71%, of the new New Mexicans.
The Census reports New Mexico had 242,600 people over the age of 64 in 2006.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tax Increases

On July 1, the gross receipts tax rate will increase in seven counties, 16 municipalities and ten other entities including five pueblos and three airports. This informationi comes on the front of your new CRS-1 filer's kit.
I didn't know airports could do their own gross receipts tax. But then tax increase inventiveness never stops. This was brought home recently when renting a car in Tucson. Part of the bill was $3.50 to subsidize spring training for major league baseball.
During the 2007 legislature, the administration did break its pattern and actually cut taxes on a net basis. For the previous four years, taxes had been increased more than they had been cut.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Exports to Mexico

The volume is larger than the numbers report. On June 16 we conducted an estate sale in Green Valley, Arizona, about halfway between Tucson and Nogales. The temperature was 105. One of our biggest purchasers of the furniture and housewares offered came from Hermosillo, four hours to the south. Several other buyers came from Nogales, the Nogales in Mexico. These were young families, as a rule.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Negative Savings Rate: Not to Worry

Well, don't worry much about the United State's negative rate of savings, says a report from Charles Steindel of the research and Statistics group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The complete report is posted in the Policy reports section

Reasons do exist for concern about low savings, Steindel says. But, overall, "Many of the obvious concerns about the negative personal saving rate may be unfounded. The negative value could be attributable to preliminary data, which the BEA could very well revise upward; a temporary depressing effect brought on by higher energy costs; and a dampening effect owing to
the surge in corporate share repurchases. Looking at the private sector on a consolidated basis,we find that saving, while quite low, is certainly neither negative nor remarkably lower than it was in the late 1990s. National saving as a whole has also been low, but it has not fallen recently—indeed, the broadest measure has edged up.
"Despite the low personal saving rate, aggregate household wealth has risen sharply in the past few years. U.S. households would not be a lot wealthier today—and thus better able to cope with a decline in asset values—if they had been saving at a substantially higher pace over the past few years. Furthermore, we uncover no strong evidence to suggest that low personal saving today would be associated with lower spending growth tomorrow."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Work Force Trouble

Over the longer term, beginning perhaps in 2010, some nasty and large trends begin to spell trouble for the New Mexico economy and just abut everywhere else. Start with the retirement of the Baby Boomers. The oldest Boomers turn 61 in 2007. Couple that with the failure of our public schools to produce high school graduates, much less graduates with a modicum of education.
With the Baby Boomers remaining the largest demographic group, we’re going to have more people leaving the labor force than entering. Immigration will help some, except that it will take a generation for the children of today’s mostly low skilled immigrants to move up the education ladder.
Obvious Plan A, a massive restructuring of the public schools, will require much pushing from elected officials.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The State of Housing

During 2006, there were 12,500 building permits issued for new homes across New Mexico. That was a drop of 1,600 permits, or 11.3%. Nearly all states showed a drop in permits issued. Wyoming and Texas were exceptions.
Of the 151,000 buyers of homes during 2005 in New Mexico, 10.2% or about 15,000, were foreign born.
Metro Albuquerque apartments were 3.8% vacant during the fourth quarter of 2006, a 0.8 percentage point drop. As supply dropped, price increased. Average rents, $643 per month, were up 2.9% for the fourth quarter of 2006, compared to a year earlier.
The median price for existing single family homes in metro Albuquerque was $184,200 in 2006, up from $145,400 in 2004.
These numbers come from tables that are an appendix to Harvard University’s recently issued annual report, “State of the Nation’s Housing.” The report can be found in the Policy Reports section and the tables in the Economic Data section.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New Mexico Economy

A recent Bureau of the Census report gives New Mexico the nation's fifth fastest growing state Gross Domestic Product between mid-2005 and 2006 with a 6.2% increase. Idaho led the nation at 7.4%. Two of the other three states ahead of New Mexico were Four Corners states—Utah and Arizona. As a rule, New Mexico's economic performance, however strong, trails the Four Corners states. The other state ahead of New Mexico has a short border with us. That's Oklahoma.
During the spring of 2006, the time leading to the close of the GDP performance period, the New Mexico economy was trucking along with monthly year-over-year job gains well above two percent, the state's best performance in more than ten years. Employment grew 2.8% in March 2006 and 2.3% in April 2006. The monthly gains peaked at 3.6% in June 2006 due to movie production, a notoriously cyclical activity that offers monthly employment swings of several thousand jobs, one way or the other, the state Department of Labor says.
A year later, the gains are back to what DOL drolly calls "more average levels," that is, back to mediocrity with job growth well under two percent. Job growth was 1.7% in March and 1.9% in April, the latest figure available from DOL as of this writing, June 12.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Health Care / NM 1st

New Mexico First has completed the recommendations document from the Health Care Town Hall held in early May.
You may download the report by going to:

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Grade A Eminent Domain Reform

The Castle Coalition, a national grassroots organization that has examined and graded eminent domain laws for each of the 50 states since the Kelo ruling, gives an A to New Mexico's HB 393 that passed the 2007 legislature. The Coalition's news release said, "This year, House Bill 393 removed the power of eminent domain from the state’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Code—ensuring protection for New Mexico’s home and small business owners from the type of eminent domain abuse seen in Kelo. By now no longer allowing condemnations for blight, New Mexico passed some of the nation’s strongest reform. An exception was made for so-called 'antiquated platting' issues in Rio Rancho, but that amendment was narrowly written and does not affect the heart of the reform." The coalition's evaluation of all 50 states is available at:

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Home Prices; State and Metro

Home prices around metro Albuquerque were up 12.2 percent during the year from the first quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2007. The metro price growth rate was 17th nationally. Metro prices increased 1.6 percent during the first quarter of 2007.
The numbers were released May 31 by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight ( The report includes both repeat sales of homes and refinancings.
Las Cruces home prices grew a bit faster than in Albuquerque, 12.6 percent year over year, good for 15th fastest nationally, with a 2.5 percent hike in the first quarter.
Santa Fe prices increased 9.05 percent for the year, 37th nationally, and 0.16 percent during the first quarter. Farmington prices increased 6.9 percent during the period.
Across the state, home prices increased 11.2 percent, sixth fastest in the nation for the year. Statewide home prices were up 1.4 percent during the first quarter.
The Mountain states continue to have the nation’s strongest housing markets, OFHEO said.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Property Taxes

New Mexico retains its lofty status as being among the states with the lowest real property tax per capita. Only Alabama and Arkansas charge less property tax New Mexico's $448 per capita in 2005, according to the Tax Foundation. The Foundation's table, prepared using Census data, is posted in our economic data section. The ringer is that New Mexico's 15.8% increase between 2000 and 2005 ranks 17th in the nation. We have a way to go to catch Oklahoma's $485 per capita property tax. But with the Sooner State's 13.3% five-year increase, we are hot on their trail.