Saturday, September 22, 2012

Worst State Economy in Nation, Right Here in New Mexico

New Mexico had the nation’s worst state economy for the year between August 2011 and August 2012.

We lost 12,400 wage jobs between August 2011 and August 2012. The seasonally unadjusted numbers were released yesterday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and the New Mexico Department of Workforce Services.

Our 1.7% job decline led the nation, the BLS said. New Mexico’s month-over-month percentage loss of 0.7% was third nationally. The performance was the third losing month after ten months of tiny gains.

Of the 27 states with statistically significant annual changes in employment, New Mexico was the only one to lose jobs. The 5,900 job decline between July and August was also statistically significant.

Neighboring states of Oklahoma and Texas posted annual wage job gains of 2.9% and 2.5% to rank second and third nationally behind oil-booming North Dakota, up 6.7%. Arizona, Colorado and Utah added jobs for the year.

Remember, these numbers are not seasonally adjusted. That means it really mattered for the overall July-to-August performance of the state economy that teachers went back to work during August and added 2,700 jobs. For the year, though teacher job numbers didn’t matter much, posting a 200-job increase.

Sector performance for the year included: construction -3,000; other services -2,600; information, -1,000; finance, -1,600; professional and business services, -5,700; and state government, -3,700.

If one can trust the statistics—and I think the situation is maybe, maybe not—the rural counties took the job hit over the August to August year. That’s because three of the metro areas show employment increases with only Farmington a loser, down 1,518 for the period. Las Cruces and Santa Fe had miniscule increases at 188 and 125 respectively. Albuquerque was up 1,853, all of one half of one percent.

The figures above are for “employment,” which come from a survey, rather than wage jobs, which are produced by a count. The figures share DNA, as it were, but they are different. A problem with all the numbers here is the continuing “discussion,” shall we say, between New Mexico labor economists and the federal BLS. The feds are boss, so they win, but our people aren’t happy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Close Camino Real Center

It's been a while since I had the opportunity to question the value of the Camino Real Heritage Center. The Center is four miles off on the mesa from an I-25 interchange that is a mile north of the rest stop at mile post 111 that is half way between Las Cruces and Albuquerque.

Today we had the opportunity for a stop at the rest stop.

I noticed this sign posted between the bathroom entrances, an easy way to get attention. Clearly a desperate attempt to draw people to the center, it claims that the center is one of New Mexico's best museums, something that isn't true, though I suppose one could invent a "best museums" scale. The center can be seen from the rest stop, a speck on the horizon.

The center is off on the horizon, a speck to the left of the walk in the center of the picture. The photo is from my iPhone. The distant detail is beyond the capacity of the phone camera and nearly everyone with the slightest potential interest.

If Susana is serious about reducing government in New Mexico, she would close the center.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Abq August Homes Sales Stay the Course, Increase Slightly

Sales closed for single family detached homes during August nudged slightly ahead of July—all of 12 units from 719 in July to 731 in August—while the number of pending sales dropped from 1,057 in July to 1,027 in August.

After May, when 737 homes sold, August was Albuquerque’s second best sales month of 2012. The pending sales figure broke 1,000 for the third consecutive month.

For each of the past three months, closed sales have been 69% of sales pending during the previous month. The relationship, if it holds for September, suggests 709 sales this month.

Condominium / townhouse sales during August totally blew the pending sales-sales closed pattern. August saw 86 townhouse sales closed, 72% jump from August 2011. That was seven more sales closed than the 79 pending sales registered during July.

Both pending sales and closed sales were nicely ahead of 2011, up 17% and 13.2% respectively, according to the monthly sales report from the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released this afternoon.

Those homes sold during August were on the market an average of 66 days, one more than during July and 13.2% faster than the 76-day average sales period during August 2011.

Median and average sales prices during August continued the pattern from 2010 and 2011 and dropped from July. The August median price ($165,000) and the average price ($201,833) were both just above the August 2011 figures.

Friday, September 7, 2012 Gives NM C-

Look at the photos of the staff of and you will see your basic group of twenty-somethings staffing an internet firm. Thumbtack's schtick, it says, is that you identify the service professional you need such as for health and beauty, lessons or for the home. "We'll identify verified service pros based on your specific needs. Available service pros will submit quotes for you to compare. You choose and hire the service pro that's right for you."

Thumbtack has some credibility. With the Kauffman Foundation, a well regarded business support group,Thumbtack surveyed 6,000 small business owners around the nation about small business friendliness and gave grades. New Mexico got a C-.

Fs came for the tax code, licensing and employment, labor and hiring. Hiring costs and ease of starting a business got a D with D+ for regulations.

Our only A was for networking.

New Mexico makes the top five for difficulty in starting a business. "New Mexico fared poorly along a variety of metrics. The state received a D and ranked sixth-worst nationwide for ease of starting a business. And the state is the fifth-most costly nationwide for hiring a new employee."

Thumbtack is based in San Francisco with support staff in Las Vegas (Nevada, no doubt) and in the Philippines.

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Tony Hillerman's Landscape" Selling Steadily

About 8,000 of the original 10,000 copy printing of "Tony Hillerman's Landscape" have sold. The estimate come from Anne Hillerman, daughter of Tony and author of the book. Don Strel, Anne's husband, took the marvelous photographs.

Anne has to have autographed several thousand of those sales. She and Don seem to have den everywhere since publication. The concept is that Anne and Don selected a brief passage from one of Papa Tony's Navajo detective novels and then went to that place. Anne described the place and Don took photos.

We got our most recent copy Saturday (9/1) at the Santa Fe farmers market where Anne was signing under the corporation umbrella, as it were, of the Collected Works bookstore. The book purchased Saturday was a "thank you" for Greg Flynn who is close to completing a lovely remodel for us. The remodel consisted mostly of a carport and portal across the from of our house in Albuquerque. The carport was necessary to shelter the car, a nice car, a Toyota Avalon, we got a year ago.

Flynn's company is Flynn & Smith LLC. Cell is 505-400-1862.

At the mob-scene farmers market was also got a bunch of lamb from Antonio Manzanares for my mom. Manzanares company is Shepherd's Lamb. See

Manzanares, of Tierra Amarilla, was one of the founders of the Ganados del Valle co-op maybe 35 years ago. Ganados has a beautiful rug sales operation in Los Ojos.