Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Population Growth Slight, Very Slight

People have quit coming to New Mexico except via being born. Pretty much, anyway.
Yesterday the Census Bureau gave us a year-end present of state population estimates for July 1, 2013. New Mexico’s population is 2,085,287 as of July 1, 2013, the bureau estimates. That’s up a miniscule 1,747 from a year earlier. The percent increase was 0.084 percent. For the decimal challenged, that means less than one tenth of one percent.
The figure nets everything—births, deaths, people moving here, people leaving.
That percentage increase was a third of the percent growth from July 1, 2011, to July 1, 2012, which, in turn, was less than half of 0.62 percent increase from July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011.
That we had population growth from 2011 to 2012 was due to more babies appearing than people dying. The real significance is in the migration figures. For the new estimates, the bureau won’t have details for a few weeks. Considering the 2012 details suggests what we will see more births than deaths and more people (grownups, I presume) leaving the state for other places in the U.S. and few people coming from outside the country.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

UP Makes WSJ

A Wall Street Journal article about the performance of the national economy mentioned just one industrial project. The article was in the Saturday/Sunday, December 21 – 22, 2013, edition. The headline said, “U.S. Economy Starts to Gain Momentum.”
The mentioned project is in New Mexico. It is Union Pacific’s “2,200-acre facility in New Mexico, a project expected to cost about $400 million.”
Governor Susana Martinez sometimes mentions the project as being a good thing, but it seems mostly forgotten north of Truth or Consequences.
More important, the facility creates a gateway to Mexico at Santa Teresa, where amazing things are happening.
Putting it another way, the national big-time business publication surveyed the nation’s economy and found just one specific project worth mention, the UP facility five miles northwest of Santa Teresa. That means to me that the project is a very big deal. Well, duh.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Source For Wertheim Column

An essay about paternalism provided the anchor for next week’s column. It came via http://www.aldaily.com which means arts and letters daily. Aldaily prints very short excerpts from articles, book reviews and essays and provides the link. The little introductions open intellectual doors that I could never hope to find, much less open.
The following drew me to the paternalism piece. “The new paternalism is so nonconfrontational, anti-ideological, and unwilling to claim moral authority that it can hardly be called “paternal.” Let’s call it “maternalism”... more»”
Find the article at http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the_triumph_of_the_maternalists/14346#.UquBDqUw2pd. The publication is spiked.com, which calls itself, “Britain’s first online-only current-affairs mag, spiked is a metaphorical missile against misanthropy.” Nancy McDermott was the writer.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Abq Pending Home Sales Drop Again

The 566 sales of single family detached homes closed during November represented a 22%, or 157 unit decline from the 723 homes sold during October. In turn, the October performance was down 6% from September. The performance appears to be seasonal—sales traditionally drop from the summer going into the fall and don’t pick up until maybe March.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the November sales report late this afternoon.
The cloud comes in the number of pending sales, down for three of the past four months on a year over year comparison and down 4% in November to 729 units from 762 in October. Pending sales have been dropping on a month to month basis since peaking for the year at 1,280 in April. July is the most recent month showing a healthy year over year increase in pending sales.
A slowing in the robust recovery of the metro Albuquerque real estate market? Hmmmm…
Another possible sign is that 74% of the 762 sales pending during October turned into closed sales during November. That was down from 81% of September’s 889 pending sales closing during October.
The homes that sell are selling fairly quickly. The average days on market, 60 during July and August, was 61 days during November, down one day from 62 during October.
Median and average sales prices during November showed no interest in rebounding to the 2013 highs reached in August of $182,500 for the median and $223,533 for the average. For November the median was $170,000, up two percent from October. The average, $207,986, was down slightly from October. The November average was pushed by two sales of homes priced at $1 million or more and six sales of homes in the $750,000 to $999,000 category.
The median and average sales prices were both up from November 2012. The median increased three percent, the average 1.6%.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Albuquerque, Santa Fe Add Jobs, Other Metros, Rural Counties Lose

Metro Albuquerque added 2,000 wage jobs during the year from October 2012 through October 2013. The percentage gain was a poor 0.5%. But given that the entire state added 1,900 jobs, that means everywhere outside the Duke City lost a net of 100 jobs. Throw in that Santa Fe gained 200 jobs, then outside the north central urban area, the state lost 300 jobs.
This performance reverses what seem to have been happening for a long time. I haven’t kept a chart, but that is my perception. The numbers were release yesterday by the Department of Workforce Services.
The Farmington and Las Cruces metro areas, respectively San Juan and Dona Ana counties, reported no change in wage job totals for the period.
The Albuquerque gains included 600 more government jobs over the year, 700 in local government 500 in state, minus 600 fewer federal jobs. Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Farmington lost, between them, 500 government jobs, all of them federal. On balance, then, Albuquerque won the state government jobs and rural counties lost the local government jobs.
The financial sector was the big winner statewide with 3,000 more jobs over the year, a 9% increase that continues the sector's strong growth of the past several months. I have figured this increase had something to do with real estate, namely improved home sales. Doubt emerges because the three metros (excluding Farmington which doesn’t report sector numbers) showed only 300 more financial jobs for the year. The additional real estate jobs will be in the metro areas, I think.
On another note, a study released yesterday by George Mason University and reported in Albuquerque Business First, the business weekly, says that New Mexico has the nation’s weakest “real private economy” as defined by percentage of jobs that have nothing to do with the government, or something like that.
Such analysis continues to dismiss that we are, uniquely, who we are, invoking cliches here, with the labs, White Sands, NASA's Fort Sumner balloon operation and the 50-employee USGS Abq-based operation that monitors tectonic movement, and ignores the reality that government spending goes up and down, just like private sector spending.