Friday, February 25, 2011

Fewer New Mexicans Work Than National Average

During 2010, 56.9% of New Mexicans 16 and older worked. The national average is 58.5%. The state’s employment to population ratio, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls it, dropped in 2010 from 57.8% in 2009. The BLS released the numbers today.
While hugely touting any one economic number buries important details, the simplistic point is that if a larger percentage of New Mexico’s population worked, then incomes across the state would be higher.
Certainly one factor in New Mexico’s lower employment ratio has to be the number of people in the “informal economy,” which is the third world term for people working for cash. I’ve never seen numbers on this informal economy in New Mexico. My guess is that such folks concentrate along the southern border and in the Northwest.
Of our neighbors, only Arizona challenges New Mexico. That state also has 56.9% of its population employed. For the others, the figures are Colorado, 62.8% (this was Colorado’s lowest ratio ever); Texas, 60.5%; Utah, 62.9%. Arizona has had a real estate recession that makes New Mexico’s recession look like roaring prosperity. Utah has a huge population under 16.

No comments: