Thursday, November 29, 2012

Six States Worse Run Than NM

According to an annual survey from, six states are worse run than New Mexico. That is to say, New Mexico ranks 44th on the site's annual survey of how well states are run.

In order, the states following New Mexico are: Nevada, New Jersey, Arizona, Illinois, Rhode Island and California.

North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah and Iowa are the five best run states. Interesting that four of the five border one another. Our friends in Mississippi are 40th.

44. New Mexico
> Debt per capita: $4,261 (15th highest)
> Budget deficit: 9.1% (tied-39th largest)
> Unemployment: 7.4% (tied-18th lowest)
> Median household income: $41,963 (8th lowest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 21.5% (2nd highest)

While New Mexico’s unemployment rate of 7.4% was 1.5 percentage points below the national figure, the average citizen isn’t that well off. New Mexico had the second-highest poverty rate in the country in 2011, with 21.5% of residents living below the poverty line. The state exported just $1,003 worth of goods per capita in 2011, the second lowest amount of all states.

The state currently has some challenges, much of which are beyond its control. It has spent significant resources putting out a massive outbreak of wildfires this summer. Another concern for New Mexico is the fiscal cliff, which could hit the state especially hard due to its heavy reliance — compared to most states — on federal spending.

Find the entire report at: The Best and Worst Run States in America: A Survey of All 50 - 24/7 Wall St.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Manufacturing Hours, Wages Drop

Employees of manufacturing companies are working less and earning less,the Labor Market Review ( publication of the Department of Workforce Services reported today.

For October 2011, manufacturing workers earned an average of $16.14 per hour and worked 42.6 hours during the week. A year later in October 2012, it was earnings of $15.14 per hour and 40.6 hours of work.

That turned average October 2011 earnings of $687.56 in October 2012 earnings of $614.68.

An article on job supply and demand trends says, "In the last year, the number of unemployed has surpassed the number of job openings. The ratio of unemployed to job openings was 1.51 in September 2012, falling from 1.63 in September 2011.
In other words, in September 2012, for every one job opening, 1.51 persons were unemployed in New Mexico.

"The ratio of unemployed to openings peaked at 2.11 in February 2012, when over two people were unemployed for every one job opening that was posted. The counties with the highest ratios in September 2012 were Mora, Valencia and Hidalgo. The counties with the lowest ratios included Los Alamos, Eddy, and Lea."

So we have more interested workers than we have jobs. No wonder people drop from the labor force.

Election Column Sources Listed

In my current newspaper column, I promised to post the detail about the sources. This was because the full detail about the sources would have eaten the available column space. The list is below.

1. Rob Portman: Wall Street Journal, November 15,2012, page R15.
2. Karl Rove:
3. GOP attitudes toward women: This individual, who has about 15 years of national-level political experience, must remain anonymous.
4. John Billingsley: Op-ed, “GOP Has the Right Ideas For N.M., but Work To Do,” Albuquerque Journal, November 16, 2012, page A11.
5. Steve Terrell, political writer for The New Mexican in Santa Fe picked up Martinez’ comments in his November 16 post at Terrell linked to
6. John Hinderaker:
7. Ann Althouse:
8. Bret Stephens: Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2012:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Number One Again

Forbes released a report today ( about 11 "Death Spiral" states. We are the best.

Forbes staffer William Baldwin said, "Two factors determine whether a state makes this elite list of fiscal hellholes. The first is whether it has more takers than makers. A taker is someone who draws money from the government, as an employee, pensioner or welfare recipient. A maker is someone gainfully employed in the private sector."

The article continued, "The second element in the death spiral list is a scorecard of state credit-worthiness done by Conning & Co., a money manager known for its measures of risk in insurance company portfolios. Its formula downgrades states for large debts, an uncompetitive business climate, weak home prices and bad trends in employment."

Mississippi was number two. We are in some elite company—California, New York and Illinois are among the eleven.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NM Job Losses Beat Mississippi

West Virginia’s percentage job losses continued to beat New Mexico’s in October. West Virginia was down 1.5% over the year from October 2011. New Mexico lost 0.7%, or 5,900 jobs. New Mexico has lost jobs since June.

Five other states are in the select group of year-over-year job losers. Wage jobs in Mississippi were down 0.3%, less than half New Mexico’s loss rate. Arizona added 46,600 jobs for a 1.9% increase. Colorado was up 41,600 jobs, a 1.8% improvement.

With the year-over-year job losses, Albuquerque’s report this morning of a gross receipts tax shortfall qualifies as the least surprising event of the day. Job losses go directly to sales losses without passing Go.

The year-over-year losses were led by government, down 4,500 with 3,800 jobs gone from state government and another 1,400 from the feds. Local government added 700.

For the month from September to October, government added 2,500 jobs on a not seasonally adjusted basis with 2,000 more in state government education (universities, one supposes) and 1,600 more in local government education. This seems confusing as I thought the schools went back to work in August.

Leisure and hospitality and education and health services led the year-over-year increases with 2,500 more jobs each. Together the two sectors employ 215,000, providing more than a quarter of the state’s wage jobs.

The national laboratory-linked professional and business services sector dropped 3,400 jobs for the year including 200 in September. The sector is the state’s second largest employment category with 96,500 jobs in October after the year-over-year losses.

Construction added 1,200 jobs in October but lost another 1,300 for the year.

Los Alamos, Eddy and Lea counties continued with an unemployment rate under 4%. Luna and Mora counties remained above 11%.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Broadband Slooowww in Abq

A report of broadband speeds in cities with more than 500,000 residents puts Albuquerque fourth from the bottom ahead of technology hotspots Oklahoma City, Fort Worth and El Paso.

Albuquerque's broadband speed is 537 kilobytes per second. Austin, Texas, long since beyond having Albuquerque as much of a rival, is fastest with 841.

Google Fiber, a network being tested in Kansas City, Kansas, offers 125,000 kilobytes per second.

The story was in today's Wall Street Journal, Page A7.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Minimum Wage Hike To Cost Jobs

The increase in Albuquerque's minimum wage passed last Tuesday will cost city government $1 million/year, the city estimates. And there will be fewer employees because part timers, typically paid the minimum, will be paid more. The city to find that money somewhere and it will come through hiring fewer people. Also, people now paid the minimum can expect a small increase.

So much for helping people at the low end of the wage scale.

This comes from a conversation overheard the other night between an economist and a city official.

October Home Sales Break Rules

The rules are getting thrashed by metro Albuquerque sales of single family detached homes. The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the numbers today.

Not only did October sales of 673 homes show an increase 107 units, or 19% from October 2011, sales were 20 units or three percent more than September. The year-over-year increase was not a surprise. Sales have increased all of 2012 over the previous year by percentages from 4.1% in June to 26.3% in September.

For a colder month such as October to increase from the previous month is very much a surprise. September sales dropped from August, suggesting the seasonal sales decline had started. Not quite yet.

Attached homes—condos and townhouses—did the seasonal thing, however, dropping from 61 during September to 59 in October. September condo sales were 28% ahead of September 2011.

Detach home sales prices, both median and average, dropped from September while remaining essentially unchanged from a year ago. For October, the median sales price was $166,300. The average was $202,827, the seventh consecutive above $200,000.

The number of sales pending for detached homes, 900 in October, was up two percent from September. The October figure of 673 closed sales was 76% of the 884 sales pending during September, an unusually high figure. Closed sales during one month tend to be about 69% of sales pending during the previous month. Applying that relationship to October’s 900 pending sales suggests November closed sales of 621 homes. And now it has gotten cold.

Homes sold in an average of 68 days during October, about the same average sales period since July. For first five months of 2012, the sales period was well over 80 days.