Sunday, March 18, 2012

DWS Revisions Take Job Totals Up and Down

Over the January 2011 to January 2012 year, Santa Fe (+1,400) and Farmington (+1,100) added wage jobs, The Department of Workforce Services reported late Friday the 16th. The other two metro areas lost with Albuquerque down 400 and Las Cruces down 100.

My column mentioned the annual benchmark process. The new DWS report uses “available full-count” job numbers from April 2010 to June 2011. The comments in this post all draw upon the new issue of DWS Labor Market Review. Starting from July 2011, DWS has “re-estimated” using sample data.

During the January 2011 to January 2012 year, we added 5,900 jobs. This makes six months of year-over statewide job gains after 32 months of losing jobs in nearly all month. The state’s employment to population ratio is at an all time low.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, employment in New Mexico peaked at 852,900 in September 2008 and 28 months later in January 2011 hit a low of 795,700, just as Bill Richardson got out of Dodge (er, Santa Fe).

For metro Albuquerque, the benchmark revisions show the city as not quite the economic block hole I’ve been calling it. Revised Albuquerque 2011 employment totals are 2,600 higher than previously report, meaning that Albuquerque employment was flat for the year instead of dropping. Professional and business services is now said to have increased by 800 for the year instead of dropping, because, DWS says mysteriously, “due to non-economic administrative reporting changes that reclassified existing employment.”

Metro Las Cruces got the same sort of news from the revisions. Instead of being down most months of 2011, employment was up an average of 1,100 for each month the year.

The revisions took Santa Fe the other way—down. Wage job total were dropped by around 600 jobs per month for 2011. Even so, wage employment was up 1,400 in Santa Fe for the year, netting an 1,800 private sector job increase with 400 fewer government jobs.

Farmington’s 2011 also increased with the revisions—an average of 200 jobs each month. Farmington added 1,100 wage jobs during 2011, a solid 2.3% gain.

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