Friday, November 22, 2013

October Job Growth 28% of August, Still Positive

New Mexico added 1,900 wage jobs between October 2012 and October 2013, according to figures released November 22 by the Department of Workforce Services. That growth is 28% of the 6,900 added between August 2012 and August 2013, the last figures issued. September was a federal sequester skip.
The 1,900 jobs are a net of 5,000 new private sector jobs and 3,100 fewer government jobs, year over year. Local government, the largest government sector, led the losses, down 1,600. The federal job total dropped 1,500, a 4.8% decline for the year, to a wage job total of 29,600. State government employment held at 60,600.
Manufacturing took the biggest percentage hit in the private sector with a 900-job, or 3%, year-over-year decline. In August, manufacturing showed an 800 job year-over-year loss. Education and health services, which hardly ever loses jobs and has four times manufacturing’s employment of 29,300, lost 1,100 jobs.
While the reflex is to call the financial services sector “small,” it employs more than the critical “basic economy” sectors of mining, manufacturing and information. The sector continues to boom, adding 900 wage jobs, or 9%, for a total of 36,100.
Leisure and hospital growth remained health with 2,200 new jobs over the year. The growth is down, though, from August when 4,900 jobs were added.
Employment (different from wage jobs) grew a little in the state’s four metro areas, Albuquerque, Farmington, Las Cruces and Santa Fe, but remains well below a year ago.
None of the New Mexico job changes were considered a big enough deal to be called statistically significant by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (, which also released figures November 22.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Bicyclist Talking on Her Cell Phone While Riding. Incredible.

Bicyclists invoke caution from me. I don’t trust them. They are small, compared to my car, behave erratically and are only protected by the illusion of the air over the paint stripe defining a bike lane.
Driving home the other day, headed west on a four-lane street with a median and a bike lane, I saw a bicyclist. As I focused on the cyclist, she (it was a she, I decided) began wobbling in the bike lane. Finally she wandered outside the bike lane. I hit the brakes. She wobbled some more and finally stopped, holding her right hand to her ear, and looked back toward me.
Talking on the phone! Or suffering from a really sore ear. It was at this time that body shape and face provided the clues that the cyclist was a woman. That the cyclist was a woman is worth noting. But stupidity favors neither gender.
Her behavior both explains my lack of sympathy for the cycling movement and my annoyance at the so-call “ghost bikes,” placed at the scene of a cyclist’s death, designed to induce guilt and sympathy for the cyclist and further the cyclists’ cause in situations such the Bike Wars along narrow King Street in Alexandria, Va., described by F.H. Buckley in the Wall Street Journal’s “Cross Country” column in the November 9 – 10 edition. “When you see the bike activists in your neighborhood,” Buckley says, “Be warned that they tend not to play nice.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

October Abq Homes Sales Down From Sept., Up From Sept. 2012

Existing home sales in metro Albuquerque dropped in October from September, though not all that much. The likely-seasonal decline probably had help from higher interest rates. Sales of single family detached homes were 723 units during October, down 46, or 6%, from September. Sales continued the year-over-year increase, up 50 units, or 7.4%, from September 2012.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the October sales report late yesterday afternoon.
January, February and March 2013, the coldest months, reported lower sales than October.
Pending sales were 762 during October, down 127, or 14%, from September. The year-over-year increase pattern broke with pending sales, which dropped 138 units, or 15%, from October 2012. Sales during October were 81% of the 889 sales pending during September, a performance last reached in July. September sales were 64% of August pending sales. Because sales close in an average of about 45 days, pending sales in one month provide a rough and statistically impure means of projecting sales during the next month.
The homes sold during October were on the market an average of 62 days, six days less than during October 2012.
Prices, both average and median, which peaked for 2013 during August, continued to drop. The median price, $182,500 for August, was $177,500 during September and $166,000 for October. The average price was $223,533 during August, $212,307 during September and $208,152 in October.
While the 66 sales of townhouses and condominiums were down from 73 during September, the performance was 12% ahead of October 2012. The median price, $141,250, increased seven percent from a year ago with the average price, $150,922, up ten percent.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Agriculture Economic Sources Listed

My column that will be published next week discusses the economic impact of agriculture, broadly defined. The three principal sources for the column were:

The Food and Fiber System: Contributing to the U.S. and World Economies. By
Kathryn L. Lipton, Office of the Administrator; William Edmondson, Food and Rural
Economics Division; and Alden Manchester, Market and Trade Economics Division,
Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agriculture Information
Bulletin No. 742.

Amber Waves: The Economics of Food, Farming, Natural Resources and Rural America, December 2011, Volume 9, Issue 4. Published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

The column goes to the community newspaper subscribers to the syndication service, New Mexico News Services. The papers are in Farmington, Gallup, Los Alamos, Espanola, Ruidoso, Roswell, Artesia, Carlsbad and Hobbs. Anyone who happens across this post without seeing the column first can go to a newspaper website and look under "opinion." Farmington, Espanola and Los Alamos are especially good about posting the column.