Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Store Wars

In the mail today we got a new set of custom coupons from Smith's. We also got a card from Wal-Mart proclaiming the opening of its new Neighborhood Market that is a just couple of blocks further away than the nearest Smith's.
I checked out the Wal-Mart a couple of weeks ago. It seems fine and with some meat offerings I haven't seen at Smith's such as tongue and tripe.
Competition. I love it.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

BofA Leaves. Flipping Returns.

Bank of America isn’t leaving New Mexico, just a bunch of rural counties. On Friday BofA announced the sale of 11 banking offices (as branches are called these days) to Washington Federal of Seattle. I assume the sale is just another part of BofA’s massive cost cutting in search of profit. The effort was successful during the second quarter when BofA made $4 billion. Now if the feds would just let BofA raise the dividends.
While I haven’t quite pinned the details, my first pass on checking locations says that the move takes BofA completely out of five counties. This is just a final testimony to the notion that BofA never cared much about New Mexico in the first place and cared even less about places outside the Rio Grande.
BofA is leaving three counties where Sunwest Bank, then a subsidiary of Boatmen’s Bancshares of St. Louis, was the biggest bank in town in 1995. They are Chaves (Roswell), Curry (Clovis), and Grant (Silver City). (The history is that Albuquerque-based Sunwest became part of Boatmen’s, which became part of NationsBank which merged with Bank America and took the BofA name.)
BofA also sold two branches in Colfax County, one in Angel Fire and one in Raton; a branch in Hobbs; both branches in Rio Arriba, one in Espanola and one in Chama; and the one in Socorro.
The flipping refers to houses. My radio station in Albuquerque is running commercials urging people to attend a seminar to learn about putting money into the purchase, quickie renovation and resale of homes. Such speculation was a significant contributing factor in creating the “great recession.” And, no, we will never learn.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Job Growth Continued in June!!

Job growth continued in New Mexico during June. The sentence has two startling concepts—job growth and that the job growth continued. The increase was 7,200 wage jobs from June 2012 to June 2013, or 0.9%.
New Mexico’s performance hasn’t yet reached statistical significance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released numbers yesterday. So we’re still lumpfing along, but at least in the right direction.
Leisure and hospitality continued to lead the sector growth with 3,700 new jobs over the year on a not seasonally adjusted basis. The sector added 2,600 jobs between May and June as tourist firms increased staff for the summer.
Financial activities added 2,300 jobs as more homes sold and more mortgages were needed. There were 1,900 new wage job in construction during the year, a big switch and a 4.5% increase.
The information sector, which includes move and TV production, grew 10.1% during the June-to-June year. If indeed, the increase is due to film, the jobs will go away as projects end.
All in all, the private sector added 10,600 jobs during the year for a 1.7% increase. Government lost 3,400 jobs. Federal employment dropped 1,700. So much for that “over dependence” on the feds. Education, state and local, broke even for the year with no change after losing 8,300 jobs between May and June. Again, the figures are not seasonally adjusted. A good many of those jobs can be expected to return in August and September.
On the other hand, as economists like to say, the state now has three counties with more than 10% unemployment. Luna County (16.5% unemployed) and Mora (13.4%) continue to “lead.” McKinley County passed the mark to 10.1% unemployment during June.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Another Star Santa Fe Resident

Comedy writer Jack Handey. See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/magazine/jack-handey-is-the-envy-of-every-comedy-writer-in-america.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&smid=pl-share.

The reference is via http://althouse.blogspot.com, a July 15 post linked to the NY Times.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

June Abq Home Sales Up 25% from 2012, Down From May

The 859 single family detached homes sold during June jumped 25%, or 174 units from June 2012. However, the June sales dropped 4.9%, or 44 units from May, in defiance of the seasonal pattern of sales building each month through the spring into the summer.
The double “however” may be that sales build during the spring, but pause in June. Sales during June 2012 were down from May as well.
In the tradition of finding the good news and ignoring the rest, the Greater Albuquerque Board of Realtors, which released the June sales report on Wednesday, happily chirped that pending sales—1,158 in June—have been above 1,000 for four months. True enough, but the 2013 pending peak was 1,280 in April. June pending sales were 10.6% or 111 units more than a year ago.
During May, 71% of the 1,280 sales pending for April turned into closed sales. For June, 69% of May’s pending sales of 1,250 homes became closed sales. Note that deals made during one month don’t necessarily close during the following month. Still, the relationship provides a rough proxy for coming-month sales. With June pending sales of 1,158 homes, is 69% turn into closed sales during July, that would mean 799 sales, down seven percent from June. We will see.
Townhouse / condo sales, 94 units during June, were up 12% from May and more than double the very poor sales of 39 units during June 2012.
The median price—$172,000 during June—remained below 2012 for the third month.
The average sales price was $212,456 during June, up less than $1,000 from and up 2.3% from June 2012. This price was the highest average since February 2011. Sales of five $1 million plus homes during June certainly helped push up the average. The four price groups between $300,000 and $999,999 all increased sales from May.
The homes selling during June were on the market an average of 66 days. That’s up a day from May and ten days faster than the 76 days a sale required during June 2012.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Metro Abq Adds Jobs in June, Other Three Metros Lose

Metro Albuquerque added 3,200 wage jobs in the year from May 2012 to May 2013, the biggest year over year increase since 2007, the Department of Workforce Services reported Friday. The other news is that the state’s other three metro areas—Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Farmington—each lost 300 jobs, reducing the metro net gain to 2,300.
Statewide the increase was 7,800 jobs, or one percent. That means the 26 rural counties together found 5,500 more jobs during the year. It has been five years since New Mexico showed a one percent year over year increase, DWS said. The pace brings us back to what is regarded here as mediocre growth, something DWS did not say.
The one percent growth ties us with four other states for 32nd place in the national ranking of job growth. Only Wyoming and Alaska lost jobs during the May to May year.
Our neighbors were four of the top six states in job growth. Arizona was 6th with 2.1%; Colorado, 5th at 2.2%; Utah 3rd at 2.6%; and Texas 2nd at 2.7%.
The federal and local governments dropped 1,900 jobs during the year. State government added 1,100 jobs (Thank you, Gov. Martinez, I think) to reduce the overall government sector loss to 800. The state government education sector, about half of total state government, lost 400 jobs during the year.
Even as the manufacturing outlook improves a little nationwide, the sector suffers here. Manufacturing dropped 1,100 jobs statewide with more than 80% of the losses, or 900 jobs, coming in metro Albuquerque. Las Cruces and Santa Fe each lost 100 manufacturing jobs. DWS does not provide individual sector totals for Farmington, but the private sector lost 300 jobs in Farmington in the May to May year.
The three larger metro areas claim 20,300 manufacturing jobs, of 71% of the 28,400 jobs statewide. While manufacturing is small in total number of jobs at 28,400, it is an important member of the core or basic part of any area economy. In other words, Albuquerque’s manufacturing sector isn’t helping the state’s recovery one bit.
Leisure and hospitality (tourism) continued to lead sector growth statewide, followed construction (surprise), education and health services and financial.
Albuquerque’s construction sector added 1,200 jobs, just behind the 1,300 new tourism jobs.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Claim is That Remington and Others Manufactured "Hero-sized" Americans

A brief introduction to the New Mexico History Museum’s “Cowboys Real and Imagined” exhibit rides the range of unsupported revisionism and impossibility. The same mindset largely ignored mining and agriculture when the museum opened a few years ago. The commentator here, in the summer 2013 “El Palacio” magazine is Kate Nelson, museum staffer and, before settling into her government job, political writer from the left at the late Albuquerque Tribune.
Nelson says the exhibit shows what she claims (without attribution or justification) was “a focused effort by the likes of Theodore Roosevelt, Owen Wister, Frederic Remington, and Charles M. Russell to manufacture a hero-sized American.”
“The likes of…” To me, that’s certainly a snidely denigrating phrase to throw at some American greats. One might debate the point. Perhaps the context simply means “similar.”
Then consider manufacturing. Manufacturing is done on purpose. Manufacturing has a specific beginning, process and result called a product. That the result of the manufacturing work of the Nash Four listed above was “hero-sized” says that the starting point was smaller sized and that the Four purposefully added. In putting the Four together, Nash suggests a conspiracy. If there was purpose and if they were together, there must have been a plot.
Having trashed the Four, Nash jumps does a further number on them with guilt by association with Dime Novels, the mass not-so-literary media that first appeared in 1860, according to Wikipedia, and to B movie westerns, which came after the Dime Novels had pretty much run their course, something not mentioned.
All this is just another example of the unhappy political agenda at the History Museum. Frances Levine, museum director explained in the epilogue to “Telling New Mexico: A New History,” issued in 2009 as part of opening the museum. She said, History museums “honor the past while serving as ongoing partners in education, civic engagement and social change. The best play a strong role in framing social policy…” Wow.