Thursday, March 31, 2011

NM Economy: Recovering? Nation’s Worst?

“Technical issues” blew a decent, all things considered, job report for February into negative territory of a 7,100-job loss statewide from February 2010 to February 2011. The Department of Workforce Solutions didn’t quite say it that way in the monthly news release this afternoon. But the numbers for professional and business services, the group for lawyers, accountants and national laboratories, showed an 11,000-job, or 11%, loss year-over-year. Jobs losses in Construction, information wholesale trade and government added another 6,000 to the negative performance.
Whatever the reason, New Mexico led the nation in job loss percentage for February with the 0.9% decline.
The decent part of the report came with added jobs statewide in key sectors including mining, manufacturing, retail, transportation, finance and leisure and hospitality.
What DWS said was, “The February data are preliminary, and we expect the revised data we present next month to show an improved outlook. The data are sample-based, and at this early time in the data collection cycle, the response rate is still lower than we would like.”
Gee, that’s nice. Then DWS continues, basically saying trust us, it will come out in the revisions.
“Technical issues aside, the recovery is under way but progressing
slowly,” DWS says. “Recovery” continues to mean we’re losing fewer jobs.
Of the ten counties with an unemployment of more than ten percent, three are in the Albuquerque metro.
In professional and business services, Albuquerque lost 2,000 jobs for the year. Las Cruces and Santa Fe each lost 100. The math says that Farmington and the rural counties lost 8,800. That’s a big number. From where?
In the new, transparent Martinez administration, DWS should fess up. DWS should say a problem exists, what the problem might be, the effect on the numbers, and solutions that are in process.
Maybe the revisions will make all these “technical issues” go away. Until then, I’m dazed, confused and uninformed.

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