Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Wage Job Growth Is 2.5% for the 26 Rural Counties From March 2012 to March 2013

The real news about New Mexico’s wage job performance between March 2012 and March 2013 came in part from the Department of Workforce Services, released the metro job numbers last Friday afternoon. For the rest, I did the arithmetic. Brag, brag.
The state’s 26 rural counties added 6,400 wage jobs, year-over-year, for a 2.5% increase. The rural counties added more than half a percentage point to bring their share of the state’s wage jobs to 32.54%.
DWS said Albuquerque added wage jobs during March from the February total. More than two or three, 2,200 in fact, for 0.6% growth. The figures are seasonally adjusted. While the percentage increase remained well under one, the number is big enough to perhaps be real instead of being some statistical flight of fancy.
In what I take to be desperation for good news, DWS chose to confuse the readers of its Labor Market Review newsletter, which unveiled the metro numbers. For Albuquerque, DWS threw month-to-month numbers and seasonally adjusted numbers into the salad with unadjusted and year-over-year figures. The casual reader, me to start, will take Albuquerque’s 2,200 new jobs are an annual gain.
Normally, the page one numbers on the Labor Market Review are annual performance and seasonally unadjusted.
New Mexico year-over-year gained 3,800 wage jobs on a seasonally unadjusted basis and 4,100 between February and March, again not seasonally adjusted.
Statewide and year-over-year, two sectors had job increases for more than 3%. Leisure and hospitality added 2,800 jobs, a 3.3% increase. Finance beat the percentage with 3.4% increase and 1,100 new jobs. Real estate, I wonder.
For the year in Albuquerque, however, it was a different game. Albuquerque lost 1,400 jobs (on a seasonally unadjusted basis) in the year from March 2012 and gained 2,500 between February and March.
Santa Fe was the only metro job with a year over year, seasonally unadjusted, job increase. The growth was slight, only 100 jobs, or 0.2%. Santa Fe’s wage job total remained 60,200 between February and March. For the year, Santa Fe lost 900 government wage jobs, 700 from state government.
Farmington dropped 700 jobs, or 1.4%, from March 2012 to March 2013. Las Cruces lost 600 jobs, year-over-year and seasonally unadjusted, down 0.9%.

Friday, April 19, 2013

March to March, A few Jobs Appear. Feb. to March, none.

None of the other 49 states equaled New Mexico’s wage job performance during March. There were 23 with more wage jobs and 26 with fewer. New Mexico stood alone with no change.
Caveats: The state job performance stated above was for March in comparison to February. The figures are seasonally adjusted.
The year-over-year comparison means more, I believe, than a monthly change.
For the year from March 2012, our job situation continued the performance of January and February and showed a slight increase of 3,800 wage jobs (0.47%) on a seasonally unadjusted basis and 2,200 (0.3%) with the seasonal adjustment. The wage job total grew 3,500 in January and 2,600 in February.
The monthly percentage increase remains below one half of one percent. Maybe having a one percent year-over-year increase would allow saying a recovery of sorts is in place. For now, no.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, Arizona added 45,100 jobs year-over-year for 1.8% growth. Colorado added 58,700, a 2.6% increase for the period. New Mexico added 2,200 for 0.3% growth.
Throw population into the mix and New Mexico’s comparative performance is even worse. While Colorado’s 5.2 million (in 2012) population is “only” 2.5 times that of New Mexico, for the March-to-March year, Colorado added 26.7 times more wage jobs. Arizona’s 6.6 million population is 3.14 times New Mexico’s 2.1 million. Arizona’s 45,100-job increase was 20.5 times New Mexico’s.
For the March-to-March year, leisure and hospitality (tourism, mostly) continued to have the best performance with 2,800 more jobs, followed by finance with 1,100 more. Manufacturing lost 600 jobs and government dropped 700.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Abq Homes Sales Increase Again. Median Price Up, Average Down

This is not your father’s housing recovery. Sales are up and prices are up. Yet job growth nationally is slight. In Albuquerque, jobs continue to disappear. Nationally, I read, wages just barely track the 2% inflation rate which means real wages are down.
So just what is up?
Free money, courtesy of the Federal Reserve, writes Edward Pinto of the American Enterprise Institute in today’s Wall Street Journal. Pinto was chief credit office for Fannie Mae from 1987 to 1989. He’s been there.
Well, almost free money. Today’s average mortgage rate is less than 3.5%, Pinto write, down from an average of 6.3% from 2000 to 2009.
That means, other things equal, buyers can afford to pay more a home. Of a given monthly payment amount, less goes to interest and more goes to principal. Pinot sees trouble ahead, based on “past experience with the disastrous impact of loose lending encouraged by federal policies.”
In Albuquerque, during March sales closed on 672 single family detached homes, a 130 unit, or 24% increase from February. The increase from March 2012 was 176 homes, 12.75%. March’s closed sales performance turned 74% of the pending sales of 913 homes during February into closed deals.
(Unless other wise indicated, all the numbers here refer to single family detached homes.)
Pending sales for March were 139 units, a 15% increase from February and up 87 units, or 9%, from a year before.
The median price for March was $175,000, up 4%, or $6,500, from February, and a 10% increase from March 2012. The median sales price was $162,000 in March 2011 and $175,000 in March 2012.
The average sales price during March, $202,605, showed a $909 decline from February but increased 6.8% from March 2012. The average sales price was $199,683 in March 2011 and $211,049 in March 2010. With the exception of one month, January 2013, the average price has remained above $200,000 since April 2012 when it hit $211,186.
Prices, both median and average, fell between February and March in 2011 and 2012.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Metros Lose Jobs, Hobbs Gains Hotels

All four New Mexico metro areas lost wage jobs between February 2012 and February 2013. The combined metro drop was 1,900 jobs. That means the 26 rural counties gained 7,500 jobs to account for the 5,600 job statewide gain year-over-year. The metro numbers were released Friday by the Department of Workforce Services.
The metro job losses were Albuquerque, 900; Farmington, 400; Las Cruces, 500; and Santa Fe, 100.
A bright spot for Lea County is addition of five new hotels. The Holiday Inn Express is open. A TownePlace Suites by Marriott and four others are in the pipeline.