Sunday, September 22, 2013

Employment Drops in August, Wage Jobs Grow

The New Mexico wage job news continued semi-cheery in August with a 6,900 year over year gain in wage jobs led by a banner year in tourism, aka “leisure and hospitality.” The “semi” stems from gains remaining under one percent from the diminished number of employed at the bottom of the recession.
The Department of Workforce Services released the August jobs report last Friday the 20th.
A statistical cloud appears in the drop in the labor force (from 934,930 to 927,009) and in employment (different from wage jobs) from 868,495 in August 2012 to 866,103 in August 2013. The economy apparently is not firing on enough cylinders to drive both job measures (employment and wage jobs) into positive territory. We’re not recovering yet.
As compared to the nation, nothing significant, statistically significant that is, happened here, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also released numbers last Friday. Nationally, 29 states reported more wage jobs, 20 reported fewer and Montana had no change.
Leisure and hospitality led the sector growth with 4,400 more wage jobs over the year, a 4.9 percent increase, definitely strong growth. Though the sector is tourism dominated, by virtue of including restaurants, the improvement also includes additional dining out by local residents, behavior that will reflect national and state economic improvement and perhaps a bit of pent-up restlessness.
With 3,600 new wage jobs, or three percent growth, between August 2012 and August 2013, education and health services has picked up the job pace after some lagging months.
The small financial services sector, with 34,900 jobs in July, continues the percentage growth leader among the sectors with a 5.8 percent increase year over year reflecting increased home sales. Increasing mortgage rate won’t help this performance.
Construction showed a decent 2.9 percent year over year increase with 1,200 wage jobs added to the August 2012 base of 41,400. The caution here is that the concepts of health and the construction sector have been an oxymoron for some years.
Mining, which here includes logging, grew by 1.2 percent, or 300 jobs.
Four of the private sectors lost jobs, “led” by manufacturing, down 800 jobs over the year.
Government dropped 3,100 jobs between the Augusts. The federal total was down 1,400 to 30,400, possibly sequester related. State government added 300 jobs including 200 in the education arena. Local government lost 2,000 with 1,300 in education.

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