Monday, April 27, 2009

Economy: Abq Journal 4/26 & 27

The Albuquerque Journal ran stories Sunday and yesterday about the New Mexico economy. The Sunday story, the second lead, was headlined, "State Is Showing Signs of Recovery." That, folks, is simply not true.
The subhead was, "Hints of Activity Ease Pain of Recession." This is true, but meaningless. One joy of our economy is that positive things are always happening. A few positive things are happening in Albuquerque and around the state.
The two stories are based on "Economy Watch," a report prepared quarterly for the Journal by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of New Mexico. The quarterly nature of the report means the Journal stories base on data from the fourth quarter of 2008.
In the stories, one happy number was real. Albuquerque Economic Development is setting records for the number of companies visiting metro Albuquerque. However, new jobs from the firms are a year away, at best, and maybe two years. It remains marvelous that AED continues to do what AED does so well.
In the meantime, though, the trend is what hasn't changed. The trend showed 12,000 wage jobs lost statewide from February 2008 through February 2009. For March, the year over year loss was 16,400. For the week of April 11, New Mexicans filed 2,200 new claims for unemployment compensation. The figure for a year ago was 1,200.
This will take a while to change, if only because the numbers are large. In February, there were 831,000 wage jobs across the state with 388,000 in Albuquerque.
A lovely sentence illustrates the thin nature of the straws the reports grasp. "Lost jobs are being replaced by an emerging alternative energy manufacturing industry, film production and several new companies."
This might be true if it said, "A few lost jobs are being replaced..." Further, the new jobs aren't the ones that have been lost. While the hundred or so new jobs from Reelx Network are nice, in fact the film jobs, mostly, com and go and the growth has eased.

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