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.

No comments: