Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rural Jobs Grow 3.4% During 2010. Three Metros Lose.

The number of wage jobs grew by 8,600 in New Mexico’s 26 rural counties during 2011, according to my arithmetic using figures released today by the Department of Workforce Services. The numbers are non-seasonally adjusted and therefore will be a bit different from those in Tuesday’s post, which were seasonally adjusted.

The rural counties hosted 250,100 jobs in December 2011. The 8,600-job increase is 3.4% growth, a very good rate by any standard. The rural growth offset a 1,200 job decline year-over-year in the four metro areas, bringing the state to a 7,400-job increase for 2011.

Santa Fe contributed 1,000 new jobs for the year. Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Farmington combined to lose 2,200 jobs, led by Albuquerque, down another 1,700 jobs. All four metros lost jobs between November and December. Together the four dropped 1,800 jobs.

Statewide, seven sectors gained wage jobs during the year. Five lost. Professional and business services stayed the same at 92,000 employees.

Education and health services led the gainers with 4,300 new jobs, followed by retail, up 3,700, and finance with a 2,800 job gain that is an extraordinary nine percent increase. Construction led the losers, down another 14% on 6,000 jobs. Other services lost 1,400 jobs, followed by government, down 1,300. State government gained 400 jobs over the year, even as state government education lost 2,100.

While it would be nice to have those construction workers busy constructing, construction depends on the primary sectors. Construction doesn’t happen alone.

Primary sectors adding jobs during 2010 were mining, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality.

New Mexico’s wage job growth ranked 33rd among the states. All our neighbors beat us. Utah, 2nd with 3% growth; Oklahoma, 3rd with 2.7%; Texas, 6th with 2%; and Arizona, 10th with 1.6%.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wage Jobs Show Two-Month Drop

Wage employment dropped a little in New Mexico between October and December 2011, according to new seasonally adjusted numbers released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The two-month decline was1,700 jobs, or 0.2% (two-tenths of one percent), hardly significant.

This report uses only seasonally adjusted numbers. For the whole report see

With the recent decline, statewide wage employment was up 8,800 or 1.1% for the December 2010 to December 2011 year. That’s a small improvement, to be sure, but one can’t fuss after the past few years.

Other numbers aren’t so happy.

Year-over-year, the labor force, defined as people working or seeking work, has dropped 16,600, or 1.7%, to 939,900. In percentage terms, the number of unemployed has dropped much more—25.8%, or 21,300—to 61,300. But as one can easily see from the new job figure, most of these folks haven’t gotten jobs, they have just dropped out, creating a problem that will be with us a long time.

Year over year sector performance is summarized below:

Uppers: Trade, transportation and utilities; finance; education and health.
Samers: Manufacturing, professional and business services; leisure and hospitality, government.
Downers: Construction.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

For Start Up Financing, Banks Count Little

When it comes to financing new small businesses in that critical initial phase, bank loans don’t matter much. Home equity loans and credit cards do matter

In truth, banks shouldn’t be lending much to start ups. There is the detail of risk.

The observations come from the Dennis Lockhart, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

This financing situation means that the real estate mess of the past few years probably has provided a major contribution to the reduction in new business formations from 870,000 in 2006 to 720,000 in 2010. The number of credit card accounts and the borrowing limits are well below pre-recession levels, Lockhard says.

New businesses on the way to becoming medium and large firms “are the true drivers of job creation” with 40% of new jobs during a given year coming from the fastest growing one percent of businesses. Mom-and-pop firms—by definition small scale—are much less important in job-growth terms.

The businesses that count are the ones that are “scalable,” that grow quickly. Lockhart refers to one study that says 40% of new jobs each year come from the fastest growing one percent of firms and that 75% are younger than five years.

Lockhart’s comments are in the Fourth Quarter 2011 issue of EconSouth. Find it at

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

December Abq Home Prices Flat From November, Down from 2010

Albuquerque sales of single family detached homes closed 2011 with a monthly increase from November and steady prices for the month. The figures, from the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors, were released this week.

November sales were 523 homes, a 31-unit, or 6%, increase from November and an 18-unit increase from December 2010. Sales were down from 566 in October.

The median sales price for single family detached homes held at $160,000 during December. The median was down $18,000 or about 10% from the 2011 peak in July of $178,000.

The average sales price, $195,861 for December, dropped $14,917, or 7%, from the 2011 actual peak of $210,778 in July. There was a sort of a fake peak of $220,000 in February, but the price jumped back down to the $210,000 vicinity for March.

Sales activity slowed cross the market during the third quarter of 2011. New listings went from 961 in October to 909 in November and 682 in December. The December new listings figure was a 33% drop from November.

Pending sales were 785 in October and 602 in December.

The 523 detached homes sold during December represented 70% of the November pending sales of 746 homes. The December pending sales figure was 602 homes. If 70% of those deals turn into closed sales during January, that would mean 421 closed sales. We’ll see.

During November and December, the average home sold in 87 days. That was the second slowest time for a home to sell during 2011. Only February, when the average home was on the market for 89 days, was slower. The year’s fastest sales period was 76 days during August.

For townhouses and condominiums, the December picture was different. More homes sold—52, up 33% from 40 in November—for a higher average price ($140,594) and a lower median price ($131,000). The average price appears to have been pushed up by sales of ten homes in the $200,000 to $249,000 price group. December also ha two condo sales in the $250,000 to $299,000 price group as compared to zero during December 2010.

Column Sources Listed

My current newspaper column refers readers to several documents used as sources for the column. Here they are:

Two reports from the University of Texas at El Paso’s Border Region Econometric Modeling Project are available for $10 each. They are the Borderplex Economic Outlook: 2011 – 2013, Business Report SR11-1,” referenced in my column, and “Borderplex Long-Term Economic Trends to 2029.”
Send checks made out to University of Texas at El Paso for $10 to:
Border Region Modeling Project - CBA 236,
UTEP Department of Economics & Finance,
500 West University Avenue,
El Paso, TX 79968-0543.

For additional information, contact Thomas M. Fullerton, Jr. and Adam G. Walke,
Department of Economics & Finance,
University of Texas at El Paso,
El Paso, TX 79968-0543.
Telephone 915-747-7747,
Facsimile 915-747-6282,

The Kaufman Institute New Economy Index is found at:

(See Registration is required.)

City Journal

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Abq Starbucks Prices Up

That's the report through the Wall Street Journal today.

Starbucks prices will increase an average of one percent in the Sunbelt and the northeast. Markets specifically mentioned include Albuquerque, Boston, New York and Dallas.

The only example of an increase the story provided was that a "tall" (12 oz.) coffee in New York will cost $1.85, a ten cent increase.