Friday, December 26, 2014

Turnaround Time? All Four Metros Gain Jobs Again

Turnaround time: All four of the metro areas showed job increases from November 2013 to November 2014. This followed all four metro areas gaining job between October 2013 and October 2014. The Department of Workforce Solutions released the figures around noon today. The metro areas growth rates were well below the statewide wage job increase of 1.7%, but at least the metros were in positive percentage territory. It’s been a while.
The state job growth ties for 24th with the District of Columbia, big jump from the performance earlier in the year when New Mexico was last and losing jobs, gaining the title of the nation’s worst economy. For the November to November year, Alaska was the biggest loser at minus 0.3 percent followed by Mississippi at minus 0.1.
The 2,900 new wage jobs in Albuquerque, DWS said, represent “the largest of only four months of year-over-year growth for Albuquerque over the last 15 months." Education and health services was the big Albuquerque gainer with 2,400 new jobs, year over year, accounting for 83% of the metro increase. Retail trade, with 1,000 new jobs, was the other big gainer. The losers continued performing down to expectations: Manufacturing (-600), professional and business services (-500), construction (-300).
Of the smaller metro areas, Farmington was the November to November champ with 500 new jobs. Las Cruces and Santa Fe both added 300 jobs.
Las Cruces was the only metro area showing a drop in government employment with a 400-job loss split among the state and the feds.

Friday, December 19, 2014

November Job Growth "Statistically Significant"

New Mexico scored “statistical significance” from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for both the October to November job increase of 4,000 and the 14,700 job year-over-year improvement. Both figures are seasonally adjusted. The job report was released this morning.
Withdraw the seasonal adjusting and the job increases become 14,100 for the year, or 1.7%, and 3,600 for the month.
Among the larger and / or important sectors, education and health services added 6,100 jobs, year-over year, mining (+2,100), retail (+1,900), holiday hiring perhaps, and finance (+1,400).
For November, the statewide unemployment rate was 6.4%. Two counties hang in there with unemployment rates greater than 10%. They are Luna (16.2%) and Mora (13.2%). Three counties have unemployment rates under 4%. They are Eddy (3.6%), Lea (3.7%) and Los Alamos (3.8%).
Two key basic-industry sectors were the losers from November 2013 to November 2014. Manufacturing dropped 1,500 jobs and professional and business services lost 400. Government chipped in with 600 fewer jobs, a decline shared by the feds, the state and the locals.
The year-over-year seasonally unadjusted preliminary job growth rate the past six months have been: October (1.1%), September (0.8%), August (0.6%), July (0.5%), June (0.3%) and May (0.1%).
Observers of such things happily observe that the state’s job growth is approaching the long term average. That’s the good news. The bad news, the reality, is the mediocre long term average growth of two percent or so.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

November Abq Homes Sales Up From November 2013

Metro Albuquerque sales of single family detached homes weren’t all that bad during November, given that it was November. The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the figures yesterday.
But sales, 601 homes during November, did jump from the seasonal cliff with a 21%, or 157 unit, drop from October. The decline more than made up for the 55 home increase in sales during warm October over September. Coincidentally, sales dropped 157 homes in November 2013 from October 2013.
The good news about November’s 601 sales is that they represented a second month of year-over-year increase from 2013 after six months of year-over-year drop.
The 738 pending sales during November delivered a third consecutive monthly year-over-year increase after 11 months of decline.
The movement of pending sales to closing went slack in November as the 601 November sales were just 72% of the October pending sales. October closed sales (758) were 89% of the 854 September pending sales.
Both median and average prices showed a second month of year-over-year increase. However the median price, $175,000 during October and November, needs a $10,000 increase this month to match $185,000 median of December 2013. November’s average price of $215,899 was 3.8% ahead of November 2013 and needs a $4,000 increase to catch December 2013.
For the year, new listings peaked a 1,756 during May. Pending sales peaked at 996 during May and closed sales topped at 283 during July.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

NM Pensions Fund Investments In "Risky Assets"

New Mexico has 85% of its public pension fund investments in "risky assets" which means stocks, real estate, private equity and perhaps hedge funds, reported a Wall Street Journal opinion piece today. The article was by Andrew G. Biggs, identified as a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Biggs mentioned six states. New Mexico was the champion embracer of risky investments. The other states were California (75%), the Texas Teachers Plan (81%), Pennsylvania (82%), Illinois (75%), New York (72%).

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Something New: All 4 Metros Add Jobs

The state’s four metro areas, all of them, added wage jobs during the year between October 2013 and October 2014, the Department of workforce Solutions reported yesterday.
The number of new jobs wasn’t large, just 1,200 among Albuquerque (+300), Las Cruces (+200), Santa Fe (+100) and Farmington (+600). Only Farmington managed a percentage increase above one with 1.2% growth. Hanging below a half percent were Albuquerque (+0.1%), Las Cruces (+0.3%) and Santa Fe (0.2%). For all four metros, job growth between September and October brought the area into positive job growth for the year.
Such tiny increases might conceal a rounding error or a figure within the job survey’s margin of error.
Still, it’s been a long time, memory says, since all four metros grew on a year-over-year basis.
The national economic performance may provide the best news for the state. That’s because the nation drives much of what happens in the state. During the third quarter, the gross domestic product grew at a 3.9% annual rate. Digging into the national performance, media wizards at the Wall Street Journal find no excitement, but a 2% plus growth rate provide little basis for real complaint.
The metro performance for the year meant the rural counties didn’t have to make up for metro losses to post a statewide increase, which was 9,100-jobs. The 26 rural counties added 7,900 jobs during the year.
New Mexico tied Idaho for 34th place among the states in job production performance. Alaska was the only state losing jobs during the year. New Mexico’s four neighboring states all finished in the top ten for job growth percentage. Texas was 2nd; Utah 3rd; Arizona 8th, and Colorado 9th.
Albuquerque’s growth came with education and health services (+1,800), aided by small increases in five sectors, offsetting losses in manufacturing (-1,000), construction (-700), leisure and hospitality, professional and business services and wholesale trade.
In Las Cruces, education and health services and professional and business services together brought 700 new jobs. Six sectors showed no growth in Santa Fe with the rest either up a bit or down a bit.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Job Growth Hits 1.1%. Woo Hoo!

Our year-over-year job growth rate rocketed to 1.1% in October. On a seasonally unadjusted basis, that’s 9,100 more wage jobs over the year between October 2013 and October 2014. Woo hoo!
Mining provided 1,700 of the new jobs, a 6.4% increase and the highest growth rate of the year, said the Department of Workforce Solutions in its release this morning. For October, mining also led the sectors in percentage growth for the year.
Nationally, said the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics in its release, “Regional and state unemployment rates were generally little changed in October.” New Mexico fit that pattern with a seasonally adjusted 6.5% unemployment rate in October, just barely better than the 6.6% in September and 6.8% in October 2013.
Education and health services, the largest “private” employment sector led numerical growth with 4,900 new jobs, year over year. The quotes around “private” come because my guess is that government pays for much (how much?) of the sector. Think Medicare.
E&HS had 129,300 jobs in October.
Finance continued its rapid grow with 2,000 jobs year over year, a 5.9% increase.
Government lost 200 jobs over the year with the losses among the feds. Local government added 200; the state lost 200. Total government jobs dropped below 30,000 to 29,800. Total government employment was 195,900 during October 2014.
Federal employment was 29,000 in March 2005 with total government jobs at 204,400.
Total government employment was 181,700 in October 1999 with the feds at 30,100. The increase since 1999 has come in local government.
Manufacturing continued its disappearing act, down 2,300 jobs of 7.7% for the year. Professional and business services dropped 1,000.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Home Sales Up in Oct., Defy Seasonal Trend

Sales of single family detached homes in metro Albuquerque increased during October, defying the usual season trend of declining and the weather cools. Maybe it was the weather. The Duke City recorded the third warmest October in record keeping history, The Albuquerque Journal reported. The weather worm has turned, however. As this is written, it is 36 degrees in Albuquerque with a forecast low of 25.
Sales of 758 homes closed during October. That was up 55 units or 8% from September and 4.8% more than the 723 homes closed during October 2013. Closed sales had dropped on a year over year basis for six months.
Pending sales—831 for October—increased over October 2013. This marked the second year-over-year increase of 2014. September was the first.
The median price stayed at the September level—$175,000, which was up 5.4% from October 2013. The average sales price—$212,905— was up around two percent from September 2014 and October 2013.
Sales took at average of 66 days to close during October. That was up from 65 the previous two months and from 63 days during October 2013.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Election: Gary King and Amendment One

Two factors explain the New Mexico election to me. First is the weakness of Gary King as a candidate. A decent man to be sure, a terrible candidate. No dynamic whatsoever. The outcome is much less that Gov. Martinez “won.” It is that Gary King had to win, to convince voters he was a good alternative. That didn’t happen. He lost.
The second factor is that Republicans, acting against decades of habitual incompetence, did some things right. They found legislative candidates who could walk and chew gum at the same time. They trained the candidates and got them some money. Unlike the governor’s race, voters had a real choice in the key legislative districts and, to a fair they degree, chose the Republicans.
The New Mexico precedent is in the efforts that brought conservation coalitions of around 1980 and with GOPAC nationally around 1990. Likewise the down-ballot candidates were competent. Three won: Diana Duran reelected Secretary of State, Aubrey Dunn elected Land Commissioner, Miles Hanisee to the Court of Appeals. Rick Lopez, an entirely obscure government manager, was surprisingly (to me)competitive for State Treasurer.
Allen Weh at least got Tom Udall’s attention. But Weh is even older than Udall, disqualifying him from being a fresh face. Voters are used to Udall. Udall is an old shoe. I remember a September email from the Weh campaign that said it was time to start drawing the contrast with Udall. Well, no, it was much too late. Still, Weh made a substantial effort and for that he is to be commended.
According to the Secretary of State’s tabulation constitution amendment one that would have changed school board election dates got 57.6% of the vote. It failed, however, due to once again tripping over the constitution’s “unamendable” requirement of 75% approval. A similar proposal a few years was just shy of the 75%. The Albuquerque Journal reported November 5 that the amendment was successful.
The mystery is the lack of a campaign for the amendment from sponsors Senators Michael Sanchez and Daniel Ivey-Soto. They knew about the 75% requirement. Why did they even bother with proposing the amendment?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Rural Areas Growing, Urban Areas Not

What is happening in the New Mexico economy that is positive is happening in the rural counties. The conclusion comes from the detail on the September job figures released last Friday, October 24, by the Department of Workforce Solutions. (Yes, I’m late in passing this along. Oh, well…)
Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Farmington conspired to drop 2,700 wage jobs between September 2013 and September 2014. Las Cruces added 100 jobs during the year, which really doesn’t count.
Statewide there were 6,400 more wage jobs over the year. The rural counties had to add 9,100 jobs to overcome the urban losses and get to the annual addition.
Among the sectors, statewide, education and health services has resumed its status as leading expanding area by number with 4,500 new wage jobs, year over year, for a 3.6% increase. With 128,400 jobs for September, education and health services is the state’s largest employer group with a 31,300 job, or 32%, lead over the declining professional and business services group which dropped another 1,300 jobs September to September.
Finance was the growth leader by percentage increase with 6.9% more jobs and a sector job total of 35,600. Mining and logging, pretty much meaning oil and gas, grew by 6.1% over the year to 27,300 jobs.
Retail added 1,900 jobs to total 93,100, no mystery given that all the new jobs were in rural counties. Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces lost 600 retail jobs for the year.
Manufacturing was the leading loser sector for the year, down 2,300 jobs with 900 of the losses, or 39%, coming in Albuquerque which has 60% of the state’s manufacturing jobs.
Government lost 1,800 jobs over the year with 1,400 job losses in local government. Local government in metro Albuquerque dropped 200 jobs with no change in Santa Fe and Las Cruces. That means that the rural counties plus Farmington lost 1,200 local government jobs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

September Jobs Report: Fewer Seeking Work, More Working

Fewer people were looking for work in New Mexico during September as compared to September 2013, but more were working which meant the unemployment rate went down. That lower rate—6.6% down from 7.2% in September 2013—got the first attention in this morning’s news release from the Department of Workforce Solutions.
DWS attention then moved to the year-over-year increase of 6,400 wage jobs, or 0.8%.
Compared to other states, New Mexico’s September job performance, neither year-over-year nor between August and September, did not stand out, meaning the changes were not statistically significant.
On a seasonally unadjusted basis, New Mexico’s labor force went from 924,400 in September 2013 to 918,700 in September 2014. That drop of 5,700 was a 0.62% decline.
Our neighbors did better. Colorado, with less than three times the number of New Mexico’s wage jobs, added more than ten times the number of jobs, year over year (a seasonally adjusted 67,400 as compared to 6,400). Arizona, home to 2.6 million wage jobs in September or 112,700 jobs, “only” added 51,600 jobs for the year or just eight times the New Mexico total.
Selected positive sector performance, courtesy of DWS, is education and health services (+4,500); finance (+2,300); retail (+1,900); mining (+1,600); information (+800). Selected sectors losing jobs are manufacturing (-2,300); government (-1,800); professional and business services (-1,300).
The retail performance adds to the mystery of the state economy. Expanding retail suggests that people have more money to spend and that suggests increased employment. It will be interesting next week when the metro numbers are released to see the source of the retail improvement. Metro or rural?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pending Sales Increase for First Time in a Year

During September, pending sales of single family detached homes in metro Albuquerque increased 10.9% from September 2013. There real news here is that this is first year-over-year increase since September 2013.
September pending sales of 854 homes did drop by three from August, but this can be attributed to the seasonal slowing as school has started and we head into cooler months.
Townhouse and condo pending sales showed a nice 30-unit or 58% jump from September 2013, the second year-over-year increase of 2014.
Closed sales during September maybe didn’t quite go off a cliff, but the 703 sales were 14%, or 119 homes fewer than the 822 homes sold during August. The 2014 peak for closed sales came in July with 823 homes sold. Pending sales peaked in May at 996.
Prices, both median and average dropped both from August 2013 and from July.
The average sales price, $208,936 during September, was the lowest since March. The average price was $7,212 lower, or 3%, than August and down 1.6% from September 2013. The median price was $175,000, a level last seen in April.
The price peak for 2014 came in July for both median and average prices.
The homes that sold during September were on the market an average of 65 days, the same as August and two days more than September 2013.
During September, 82% of August’s 857 pending sales turning into closed sales. For August, 83% of July’s 986 pending sales became closed.

Friday, September 26, 2014

NM Economy No Longer the Worst; Rural Counties Gain

The Department of Workforce Solutions didn’t quite let the work week end before sending out the detailed August job figures in the Labor Market Review newsletter. But DWS was close. The email came out at 4:51 P.M.
No wonder. Much exists to avoid. Three of the four metro areas lost wage jobs in the year August 2013 to August 2014. Las Cruces showed no change with Albuquerque down 600, Santa Fe down 900, and Farmington dropping 1,000 jobs or 2.1%. The metro job loss total was 2,500.
The state gained 4,600 jobs, year over year, 0.6% increase. That means the rural counties gained 7,100 jobs.
This stellar mediocrity bumped the state into a tied for 40th in job production among the states. Toot the horns; no longer the worst. Nebraska, New Hampshire and Ohio tied our job creation standard.
Among the sectors statewide, the critical manufacturing sector continued to disappear, down month-leading 3,000 jobs to 26,900. Professional and business services dropped 2,400 jobs with government down 800. The losses concentrated among the feds, down 1,000.
Education and health services added 6,100 jobs (shades of five years ago, DWS noted) with another 2,200 in finance. Mining, meaning mostly oil and gas, added 1,400 jobs.
To get to the loss of 600 jobs, Albuquerque got rid of 1,400 jobs in professional and business services and 1,000 in manufacturing.
Just noticed the DWS is called the regions “Workforce Investment Areas.” Bleah.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Wage Jobs Increase, Labor Force Decreases

The headline item will be that New Mexico led the nation in percentage terms in adding wage jobs between July and August. The 0.6%, or 4,600 job, increase was on a seasonally adjusted basis. Wage jobs increased in 35 states, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released the monthly jobs report today. Over the year from August 2013 to August 2014, again for wage jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, the increase was even better—a 5,500 job increase to 817,300 wage jobs.
Take away the seasonal adjustment and the wage job report remains decent, at least for New Mexico. Over the August to August year, jobs increased 4,600, or 0.6%, to 814,800. The monthly increase was 7,700 jobs or almost (gasp!) one percent.
The happy news ends.
Go to “employment,” the other measure of the number of people working or looking for work, and the story is different.
All four of the numbers for employment showed declines in August. That is to say, employment in August was lower, or a seasonally adjusted basis, than in July 2014 (-1,500) and in August 2013 (-2,700). The figures also were lower without the seasonal adjustment.
Continuing erosion of the labor force appears to explain much of the change. Fewer people appear to be working or looking for work, which is the definition of the labor force.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Home Sales Drift Down

During August the metro Albuquerque real estate market continued drifting gently down as compared to 2013. The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the August sales report yesterday.
Closed sales of single family detached homes, 822 during August, were down both from July and from August 2013. Sales were down only one unit from the 823 closed sales during July, but the performance broke a seven month string of month over month sales increases. Sales were down 35, or 4.1%, from August 2013, continuing the year-over-year sales declines that have characterized 2014.
The 857 sales pending during August represented a double decline. Pending sales were down 29 August 2013 and 129, or 13.1%, from July, indicated a further drop in closed sales for September.
The average price for homes closed during August was $216,148, incorporating the contribution toward raising the average from three homes sold in the $1 million and over group. The average price was down from both July and from August 2013.
The median price was $184,100 for August. The figure was down from July but up $1,600 from August 2013. The price group from $200,000 to $249,000 was the most popular during August with 134 homes sold. However, at $49,000, that group is wider than other price categories. If combined, the two next lower price groups accounted for 143 sales during the month. The two groups are from $160,000 to $179,000 and from $180,000 to $199,000. These two cover a $39,000 spread.
Home sales took an average of 65 days to close during August. That was five days longer than during July 2014 and August 2014.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Gary King Incredibly Disappointing

I have always thought of Gary King as a decent guy, not someone I would for barring the Republican being an idiot, but decent. That’s over. I have also felt that King’s long quest to be elected governor and follow his dad, Gov. Bruce, was a little strange.
This morning’s Albuquerque Journal brings news that King is deeply into parochialism that is one of New Mexico’s big problems.
That’s my take on King’s remark at a Belen Fundraiser that Gov. Susana Martinez “does not have a Latino heart.” The remark is in a brief video published yesterday on the web site of the conservative magazine, “The Weekly Standard.”
Find the video at:
Just one of King's many missed points is that Martinez represents the majority of New Mexico Hispanics. She is a generation or two out of Mexico. The people who have been in the state and proudly proclaim that accident makes them better people, they are the minority. This is as of the 2000 census.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Minnesota Road Sign

The sign said, “Concentrate on Driving.” It was on U.S. 52 distracting drivers heading southeast from Minneapolis to Rochester.
In the same vein, our rental Camry had a disclaimer on the dashboard screen warning drivers that looking at the screen could be dangerous.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Administration Continues Hiding From Job Reality

Comes the cold water for any overall jolliness that might want to happen as a result of last week’s job performance news. Yes, New Mexico did post the nation’s second largest percentage wage job increase from June to July on a seasonally adjusted basis. Our 4,400 job increase was a 0.5% monthly job jump that tied with four other states behind Montana’s 0.7% Pretty good. And, yes, we did gain jobs from July 2013 to July 2014.
But there is that seasonality. Take away the adjustment for the month-over-month performance and we lost 3,400 jobs, dropping to 806,500 wage jobs in July 2014..
The Department of Workforce Solutions continues to ignore these ugly details.
More but…
Our year-over-year job increase was the nation’s smallest increase, also 0.5%, giving us the nation’s second worst economy, just after Alaska, the only state to lose jobs in July. Thus, our performance, while slightly better, still trails everyone else (almost).
Year over year, on a not seasonally adjusted basis, New Mexico gained 4,300 jobs, or 0.5%, about the same as the June to July increase.
Shifting to “employment,” which is different from wage jobs, New Mexico lost 3,200 jobs from July 2013 to July 2014 on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Do the adjustment and the annual loss becomes “only” 500 jobs.
Our metro areas reflected the state performance, which has to figure. Three metro areas lost jobs: Albuquerque (-200); Santa Fe (-1,000); and Farmington (-500). Nationally 38 other metro areas lost jobs, year over year, while 327 gained. Las Cruces gained 900 jobs.
A review of the sectors show the bag as being decidedly mixed. Education and health services, the state’s largest “private” job sector with 125,400 people in July, added 5,000 employees over the year. The sector is only sort of private because of government involvement in health care. The federal government also sends large amount of money to “for profit” educational institutions.
Professional and business services, the state’s second largest sector and presumed home to big numbers of science and engineering people, as well as landscape architects, lost 1,500 jobs for the year including 1,200 in Albuquerque. The much smaller manufacturing sector dropped 2,000 jobs, including 900 in Albuquerque, bringing the job-loss streak to 21 months.
Mining, meaning oil and gas, continued to save the state with 1,500 more jobs, year over year, bringing the sector’s job total to 27,900.

Friday, August 22, 2014

NM Economy Nation's 2nd Worst

Alaska lost a few jobs during July, the only state to do so. New Mexico added 4,300 wage jobs, a 0.5% increase. New Mexico's increase, while a nice switch from the months of job losses earlier this year, places the state as the nation's second worst in term of percentage job performance. Our increase is the nation's lowest. Three states showed a 0.7% wage job increase in July, the next best performance. They were Illinois, Nebraska, and Connecticut.
These numbers come from the Department of Workforce Solutions and are in the issue of the Labor Market Review newsletter that was released today. More later, early next week, most likely, when I have had a chance to look at the newsletter.
Bottom line for NM: Doing a little better. Still doing poorly.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Abq Home Sales Continue Behind 2013

The headline said, “July home sales in Albuquerque area take a tumble.” The headline was on the website of Albuquerque Business First. It is true, but only tells half the monthly performance story. July’s 823 closed sales of single family detached homes were up from June by 23 units or 3%. The “tumble” was taken from July 2013, which had 939 closed sales. July 2014 was 12.3% behind July 2013.
The “news” from the July sales performance is two items. First, the monthly sales performance fell behind 2013 for the first time since March. Second, pending sales were below July 2013. Pending sales have been behind 2013 all year on a month over month basis. Any upward market momentum has disappeared, no surprise given the Duke City’s job non-performance.
With two exceptions (the average price in February and the median in March), prices have stay above 2013 all year. In July, both the metro average and median price hit 2014 highs. The July average, $230,750, was 8%, or $17,246, above June and 3.7% ahead of July 2013. Three single family homes sol for $1 million or more during July. The median beat July 2013 by $8,000, or 4.4%, and was up $10,000, or 6%, from June.
The 823 sales closed during July were 88% of the 939 sales pending during June.
During July, single family homes took and average of 60 days to sell, the same average sales period as both June 2014 and July 2013.
Sales of condominiums and townhouses run less that 10% of single family homes. On a year over year basis, these continue to be behind 2013.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Abq Breaks Bad

Find this news at

The report said, "...according to an analysis by of words mentioned in more than 450,000 tweets that were “geo-tagged” in cities with a population of at least 200,000. is a site that provides resources and treatment on drug addiction...Albuquerque, N.M., was named the vice capital for crystal meth..."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pending Home Sales Down from 2013

With the delay in getting the monthly metro Albuquerque real estate report posted (the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the report July 10; sorry ‘bout that), I will limit the report to noting that pending sales of single family detached homes have been down on a year-over-year basis for all six months of 2014 as compared to 2013.
Closed sales have been down for three months. There were 800 closed sales during June, up three from May but 59 units, or 6.9%, behind June 2013.
The homes that closed during June were n the market an average of 60 days, the quickest sales period of 2014.
As compared to 2013, average and median prices have increase as compared to 2013 for five of the six months of 2014.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Job Numbers Up and Down: Ambiguity Appears

That the New Mexico job (non)production situation is not quite the nation’s worst is the takeaway from the job numbers for June released this afternoon. Ambiguously bad might be a good description. By the seasonally adjusted figures for June 2013 to June 2014 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Mexico can claim being the nation’s third worst state economy with a loss of 400 wage jobs or less than 0.5%. Alaska, down 0.7% seasonally adjusted, led the nation, followed by Vermont, down 0.1% and then New Mexico. From May into June, Alaska again led, minus 1.7%, with West Virginia, at minus 1.2%. New Mexico and New Hampshire followed, tied with a 0.6% job loss.
The ambiguity came with the seasonally unadjusted numbers. Here New Mexico gained 2,500 job on the June-to-June basis.
The release from the Department of Workforce Solutions heralded this, saying “growth (in) positive territory for the first time in nine months.”
The DWS release continued the annoying administration policy of tucking reality under the rug by not mentioning the seasonally adjusted/not adjusted distinction. Nor, no surprise, did DWS mention the state performance comparisons.
A few sector figures: Seasonally adjusted manufacturing continued the sector’s disappearing act, down another 2,200 jobs, with the much larger professional and business services sector down 1,000.
Going to the seasonally unadjusted performances, mining added 1,700 jobs, finance continued the mystery growth with 1,700 more and jobs and government dropped 3,200 jobs.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tennis and Tesla

All of 0.17% of New Mexico homes come with a tennis court, according to Vermont has the most courts, tennis wise with 0.77%. The mention was in today’s Wall Street Journal, page M 12. I could not find the report at
Being electric, Tesla cars need things into which to plug. That much should be generally known. I hadn’t thought much about the details until seeing these stations this week at the Marriott TownePlace Suites hotel in Farmington. Hotel staff said the stations were installed last fall and have drawn traffic, as it were. The staff said Tesla drivers have stayed at the TownePlace specifically because of the electrical availability.
Tesla calls the stations “superchargers.” The only other New Mexico location, according to is at a Hampton Inn in Gallup.
Hotel management did not respond to my email inquiry for more details.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Not Quite the Worst Economy, But Close

The lead item from the Labor Market Review, the Department of Workforce Solutions newsletter that hit my email inbox at 4:21 PM the afternoon of June 27, is, "New Mexico’s rate of over-the-year job growth, comparing May 2014 with May 2013, was negative 0.1 percent, representing a loss of 600 jobs."
My initial understanding of the May numbers was that we were still the worst economy in the nation. Not quite the case, apparently. Our job loss percentage ties Washington, D.C., but Vermont beats us with a loss percentage of 0.2%. New Mexico’s comparative job performance continues to be buried without comment in the table on page 16 of the Labor Market Review.
Three of our four metro areas lost 4,000 jobs over the year: Albuquerque, -2,800; Las Cruces, -100; Farmington, -1,200. Only the Santa Fe metro gained jobs, a whopping 200, or 0.3%.
Government, down 2,500 jobs statewide, led the sector losers. Only 700 of those job losses were in the metro areas.
Thus the job gains were in the rural counties and in the private sector, enough to overcome the loss of 1,800 government jobs.
Growing sectors, May 2013 to May 2014.
Mining, retail, finance (?), education and health services, leisure and hospitality.
Loser sectors:
Manufacturing, construction, information, professional and business services, government.
National retailers new to New Mexico (Dick's Sporting Goods, Total Wine) must see growth. But where?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Abq Journal Op-Ed, 6/16/14

The material below ran as an op-ed piece on the editorial page in today's Albuquerque Journal. It was extracted from columns I wrote in April. Creating the op-ed was Rep. Hall's idea. Thanks Jimmie. - Harold Morgan


Nation’s Worst State Economy Is Here. But Why, Exactly?

By Rep. Jimmie Hall and Harold Morgan

The worst state economy in the nation is here. Albuquerqueans are very good at divorce. People are leaving the state. Incomes are flat.
These things go together.
For April, we lost wage jobs, year-over-year, for the fourth consecutive month, reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We are one of three states with year-over-year losses, keeping us in the singular position of the worst nation’s state economy. We also led in month over month decline. The April-to-April decline was 4,400 jobs or 0.54 percent. Maybe it was newly divorced people leaving. Men’s Health magazine ranked divorce propensity in 100 cities. Albuquerque placed 99th.
Mapping county population change from 2008 and 2013 reveals a band of 15 population losers from northeast to southwest. From 2003 to 2008, 13 counties lost population. The trend has accelerated since 2010.
Births, deaths and moving sum to population change. Births minus deaths provide “natural increase.” Six counties, led by Sierra, had too few births to offset the number of deaths during 2010-to-2013. Moving, called “migration,” can be international or “domestic”—into or out of the state from the United States. Such moves tend to be for economic or family reasons.
Domestic movement is most important. For the three years from April 2010 to 2013, the departure total was 21,500. The most recent year July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013—produced 13,500 departures, almost two-thirds of the total. About 3,600 people left during each of the previous two years.
During the 2012-13 year, 3,000 people moved here from other places in the United States, making net domestic migration a negative 10,526. Lea and Eddy counties provided 90 percent of the migration gain. Babies explain the population growing 26,100 (to 2.08 million) between 2010 and 2013. The 89,000 new babies were 36,000 more than the 53,000 deaths.
Income reflects this. For 2013, total personal income increased 1.7 percent. That placed 48th nationally. The 2013 inflation of 1.6 percent nearly consumed the increased earnings. Transfer payments (welfare, social security, etc.) more than doubled the earnings increase from real work.
Anguish aside, last year’s report about being 50th in child poverty only reflects bigger issues, work in particular. People participating in the labor force either have a job or believe it worth seeking a job.
In August 2013, labor force participation nationally was 63.2 percent, the lowest since August 1978. For New Mexico, participation was 58.5 percent for April 2014, ahead of five states.
Government dominated counties lead labor force participation: Los Alamos has 67.2 percent participation, followed by Santa Fe, Bernalillo, and Curry. Much else happens in these counties besides national laboratories, state government and the military. But what? Getting to the detail would be useful and inexpensive.
McKinley County has the lowest labor force participation, meaning the least work done in a general sense, of our larger counties. In McKinley, participation is 52.2 percent, below West Virginia’s lowest state rate of 53.4 percent. Sierra, Guadalupe and Catron follow.
Agriculture receives little appreciation. While agriculture itself is only about two percent of our economy, Emily Kerr, a Dallas Federal Reserve Bank economist, says that including linkages takes the total impact to around nine percent. With chile a small sector—cash receipts of $46.7 million in 2011—identifying those linkages to understand the full impact becomes more important. Maybe chile is a $200 million economic sector.
Chile linkages include cultural essence, farm machinery and fertilizer, transportation, food processing, recreation, various retail, literature and publishing, cuisine, tourism, government (extension service and research), international relations (the international chile conference and the research deal between NMSU and a Korean university).
Discovering the reasons behind all this bad stuff and identifying opportunities would be good first steps toward improvement.

Jimmie Hall is a state representative from Albuquerque. Harold Morgan’s weekly column is syndicated to nine community newspapers.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Filming Returns. So does Uncompensated Individual Subsidy.

Filming has returned to my neighborhood and, with it, a reminder about the subsidies.
The filming was supposed to be yesterday with an arterial street blocked for nine hours.
The subsidy thing is that while the state’s subsidy to film companies is something with which I disagree, the matter has been well discussed and is in place. What remains mostly not considered is the subsidy through disruption of individual daily activity imposed by, in this case, closing of the street which will affect several thousand people.
If a street is closed, drivers must go around. That takes time, creating a loss of productivity, consumption of more gasoline and more. The element of surprise adds annoyance.
If I got paid for my inconvenience, say, $100 as a flat fee, I might not care. For now I continue to wonder why I am supposed to be inconvenienced without objection to help a private business.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Abq April Job Losses Behind Only Detroit

BLS 5/28/14
Between April 2013 and April 2014,the Bureau of Labor Statistics said, “the largest over-the-year decrease in employment occurred in Detroit-Warren-
Livonia, Mich. (-5,500), followed by Albuquerque, N.M. (-4,500), and Atlantic City-
Hammonton, N.J. (-3,700). The largest over-the-year percentage decreases in
employment (3.7%) occurred in Farmington, N.M.”
The BLS report the figures May 28. Rarified company, indeed..

Metro Abq Closed Sales Up During May; Pending Sales Down

During May, pending sales, a key real estate market indicator, remained below the year ago period as it has for all of 2014. Pending sales in metro Albuquerque were 996 during May 2014, according to the monthly sales report released this afternoon by the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors. The May pending sales figure was 5.4% behind May 2013.
However, closed sales, 797 during May, continued the steady monthly increase that has characterized 2014 (other than the 26% jump between February and March). Closed sales were behind the year-ago period for the second month. Closed sales were 11.7% behind the 903 sales closed during May 2013, but well ahead of the 737 closed during May 2012.
Both the median and average sales prices hit 2014 highs during May. The May median price was $180,000, three percent more than both April 2014 and May 2013. The average price, $223,193, was $7,633, or four percent, up from April 2014 and 5.5% ahead of May 2014. The average price got a boost from the closing during the month of the sale of six homes worth $1 million or more.
May provided the quickest home sales of 2014 with 67 being the average number of days a closed sale was on the market. That was four days less than April but two days more than May 2013.
From the zip code sales sampler, 87106 had 49 active listings during May 2013 with 19 sales and 2.1% of all sales. During May 2014, 87106 had 74 listing and 19 sales for 2.4% of the market.
During May 2013, the zip code with the most listings, 87031, had 245 listings with 26 sales and 2.9% of sales. The zip code had 240 listings, 33 sales and 4.1% of the market during May 2014.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

“New Mexico A History” More Than Imperfect

In my recent column about government dependence, “imperfect” was the description for “New Mexico A History” (by Joseph P. Sanchez, Robert Spude and Art Gomez, University of Oklahoma Press,, 2013). I was being nice.
The book provided for my column purposes a useful if occasionally confusing description of the careers of Mayor / Governor Clyde Tingly and Sen. Dennis Chvez. As a small example, I got Chavez’ date of death from Wikipedia. For non-readers of the column, the point was that we have been chasing the government dollar in New Mexico just about forever, so the present whining about “government dependence” becomes even more that just—whining.
In “New Mexico A History,” there are no footnotes and no bibliography. A historian friend says this is a major no-no for history books.
The first situation (page 195) gaining my attention in a negative way probably had to do with the infamous “unamendables” clause. I say probably because the authors did not use that well recognized phrase (by New Mexico constitution nerds), but writing about creating the constitution, they said, “Equally important to Hispanics was a clause that made it nearly impossible to amend the constitution.”
With regard to our much-amended constitution, that’s simply not true. However it is not clear that the sentence applies to the entire constitution. Sloppy at best. What were the OU Press editors?
Sentences scream for footnotes.
They talk about the “Clovis subdivision” rail line without being clear where that is. Then, “The Clovis subdivision remains the busiest line in the Western Hemisphere to this day.” Oh? Who says?
They seem confused about when Intel came to Rio Rancho, which was 1981. I wrote about it at the time. Consider, “Rio Rancho, home to Intel and other notable high tech firms, doubled in size during this period.” The dates in this paragraph identifying “this period” were 1950 to 1970. Rio Rancho hardly existed in 1970 and for sure was not incorporated, so getting population figures would have been a chore.
The Hyatt in downtown Albuquerque is alleged to have been there in 1970. Not true. It was 1990.
About half of page 326 goes to the Pegasus Global Holdings project that was a promotion all the way and, so far as I know, has not yet happened. Of the project, Wikipedia says, “Construction was scheduled to start in June 2012, but was cancelled in July 2012. Pegasus Global Holdings' decision to build the city arose from their own testing needs. As of August 2013, the project appeared dead.”
Politics joined inaccuracy with inclusion of the criticism of Intel’s water use that developed after Intel’s huge expansion in the early 1990s. (The expansion wasn’t mentioned, just the water use criticism.) No mention appeared of Intel’s work to reduce it water use. (I was in some of those meetings.) In the water use discussion (or whatever it was), Hewlett-Packard, which came to Rio Rancho in 2009 with a customer service center (a call center in other words), was taken together with Intel which appeared 28 years earlier.
There is more. All in all, very annoying.

Bibliographies and Footnotes Part of History Books

I checked my bookshelf for history bibliographies. In no particular order:
 New Mexico An Interpretive History by Marc Simmons. A list of books titled, “For further reading.” No footnotes.
 New Mexico Past and Future, Thomas E Chavez. What he called a “Selected Bibliography.” 13 pages, approx 125 entries.
 Telling New Mexico A New History, edited by Marta Weigle. The list was titled “references cited.” approx 225 entries
 The Myth of Santa Fe Creating a Modern Regional Tradition, Chris Wilson. Footnotes with the reference at the back of the book. Wilson made a different choice. He said at the start of the Notes section, “Because I have dispensed with a comprehensive bibliography in the name of economy, sources are given in full (in the footnote) the first time they appear in a chapter.”
In the first footnote, Wilson quotes Robert Redford from a "Rolling Stone,” interview, saying, “The Milagro Beanfield War (the movie) had to do with the rhythms of a culture that had no information access, that had no television or radio.” Wilson then observes, “The ignorance of the region’s history betrayed by this classic romantic construction goes a long way toward explaining the film’s reliance on stereotypes.”

Friday, May 23, 2014

Albuquerque Leads April-to-April Job Losses, down 4,500

Maybe I mis-read the BLS job report last week when I said New Mexico was one of two states to lose wage jobs between April 2013 and April 2014. The updated report from the Department of Workforce Solutions places us alone at the bottom, our 4,400 fewer wage jobs making us the only state with year over year losses. The report, in the form of DWS “Labor Market Review” newsletter was released late (as usual) this afternoon. Also as usual the job-loss ranking was discretely tucked into job loss ranking chart on page 16 and not mentioned elsewhere.
Albuquerque more than explains the losses by being down 4,500 jobs for the year. Farmington contributes 1,900 fewer jobs with Las Cruces down 100, making for a three-metro job loss total of 6,500. Santa Fe added 300 jobs and the 26 non-metro counties added 2,100.
Statewide, government was the leading loss sector, minus 2,800 April-to-April. The feds dropped 1,100 jobs, the state 100 and local government lost 1,600 jobs including 1,500 in education, the public schools, I guess.
By sector, the Albuquerque losses are broad: professional and business services, - 1,400; construction, - 1,200; manufacturing, - 1,100; information, - 700; leisure and hospitality, - 600.
Statewide finance is the sector growth leader, up 2,200 over the year, or 6.7%. The continued high growth in a service sector without a real product remains a mystery. Considering the metros deepens the finance mystery for me. The three large metro areas added 300 finance jobs between them—400 in Albuquerque, none in Las Cruces and Santa Fe lost 100. That means Farmington and the 26 non-metro counties found 1,900 new finance jobs between April 2013 and April 2014. Not banking, for sure, which employs about a quarter of the finance sector, according to County Business Patterns. And in any case the finance jobs will concentrate in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
The Albuquerque vs. the rest of the state retail situation is clarified a little with the report that Albuquerque dropped 100 retail jobs over the year as the state gained 1,400.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Stagnation is Regional: Abq Beats El Paso and Tucson

The stagnation or slump or whatever one calls it is regional if one judges by population growth. That means that whatever is not happening is more than not happening with federal research organizations.
The Census Bureau released city population figures today. Albuquerque’s 2012-2013 growth was all of 0.34%, or 1,874 people. The 2013 Duke City population is an estimated 556,495. Note this is just the city. The metro are has four counties including Sandoval, which means Rio Rancho, population 91,950, plus 1.3% or 1,181. The RR performance jibes with a Wall Street Journal article about the new numbers which said suburban growth is back to running ahead of central cities, just a bit anyway.
In the region, Albuquerque’s one-year growth was ahead of Tucson, population 556,495, growth of 0.25%, or 1,315. El Paso, population 674,433, plus 1,874, or 309. Both cities have a large federal presence, El Paso with recently hugely expanded Fort Bliss, and Tucson with Davis–Monthan Air Force Base.
Other growth rates were Santa Fe (+ 0.9%, population 69,976); Omaha, +1.28%; Colorado Springs, + 1.46%; and Denver booming at + 2.36%.
All the more reason (broken record time here) to understand what really is happening with the 31 New Mexico counties not named Lea and Eddy.

Friday, May 16, 2014

NM Economy: Holding as Nation's Worst

New Mexico continues to offer its citizens the worst performing state economy in the nation.
Today’s monthly Department of Workforce Solutions jobs release appeared about 3:00 P.M. The headline is about the unemployment rate. That’s just absurd. Look at the release, and ,yes, in the second paragraph DWS says we lost jobs year-over-year.
Look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics release, which appeared at 10 A.M. EDT and learn what DWS does not say. See, the top item on the page. We have lost wage jobs, year-over-year, for the fourth month in a row. We are one of two states with year-over-year losses, keeping us in the singular position of the worst state economy in the nation. We also led in month over month decline.
The April to April decline is 4,400 jobs or 0.54% (just over one half of one percent). That is my computation, using the not-seasonally adjusted table for wage jobs.
The BLS says, "The largest over-the-month percentage declines in employment occurred in Maine (-0.4 percent), Wyoming (-0.3 percent), and New Mexico (-0.2 percent)…. The only over-the-year percentage decreases in employment occurred in New Mexico (-0.7 percent) and Virginia (-0.1 percent)." The BLS statement is pasted from their release.
As to the politicians, I annoyed with all of them. DWS is either just dense or, what I suspect, hiding things. The Democrat governor candidates have no clue. Raise the minimum wage? Give me a break. Pandering.
In January UNM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research forecast 2014 wage job growth of 1.4%. The BBER excuse for bad numbers, typically swallowed whole by Win Quigley of the Albuquerque Journal, is that the statistics are funky and things are better than the numbers show. I think that begs the question. OK, if the numbers are procedurally funky, why, what can be done to fix them and what really is happening?
Year over year sector performance includes: Mining (+1,300, 5%); Manufacturing (-2,000, -6.9%); Financial (+2,200, +6.7%); Professional and business services (-2,100, -2.1%); Government (-2,800, -1.4%)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

April Home Sales Nudge Up, Prices Up More

During April both closed and pending sales of metro Albuquerque single family detached homes nudged up from March. The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the March sales report yesterday afternoon.
April’s 721 closed sales were 26 units, or 3.7%, above March. Pending sales also increased 26 units to 976, but the percentage gains with 2.7%.
Closed sales were eight units behind March 2013. While both pending and closed sales have increased each month of 2014, the pending sales continue to run well behind the 2013 performance. The pending sales percentage deficiency was 23.7% from March 2013, the largest percentage lag of the year.
Homes sold during April at an average rate of 2.367 per day, a smidge faster than the 2.387 average of March. The average home with a sale closed during April was on the market 71 days, one day more than April 2013.
Prices made sellers, at least those selling higher priced homes, happier during April. The average selling price was $215,560, up 6.4% from March and an 8.9% increase from April 2013. The increase came from sales in the five price groups starting at $250,000 being up from 2013.
April’s median price, $175,000, showed a $7,000, of 4.2%, hike from April 2013 and a $5,000, or 2.9%, increase from March.
Of the 950 homes with a sale pending during March, 76% moved to a closed sale for April.
For attached homes (townhouses and condominiums) pending sales activity mirrors that of detached homes in being well down from 2013. The percentage drop is greater, though. Closed sales of attached homes increased, on a year-over-year basis for the first three months of 2014, but the 52 attached homes sold during April were 28% behind April 2013.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Economy Goes Pfft. Jobs Drop Again in March.

A pffft was the sound from the New Mexico economy as the first quarter closed with a third consecutive month of job losses. The Department of Workforce Solutions released the numbers April 18.
The March drop was 1,000 jobs, or 0.1 percent, from March 2013.
Sector behavior was all over the place and without a sense of trend for this observer.
The best sector news comes from the 1,400-job increase in mining. Things in addition to oil and gas, potash for example, are happening, though, with the usual lack of detail, the impact is unknown to us semi-wonk people. We hear that any hotel room is Carlsbad is a rare commodity, much less a reasonable room for a reasonable price. “Way back when,” in March 2005, mining had 15,700 jobs split with 11,700 in oil and gas and 3,800 in actual mining. The total today is 26,900 for all mining.
Finance leads the oddity group with a 1,900-job, or six percent, increase over the year. Insurance provides a third of the finance jobs. Other major finance groups are banks, savings institution and “credit intermediation.” The March 2014 employment is 34,800. The growth is baffling. DWS observes, “Recent (finance) growth has been much higher than what is typically reported for the sector.” Well, OK. Why?
Retail provided the second oddest news with a 2,100-job increase. A growing retail sector would seem to need a growing economy and/or firms with deep pockets making long-term bets. But on what?
The continuing shrinkage of manufacturing hurts. Also “way back when,” in March 2005, manufacturing had 35,000 wage jobs. Today it is 26,800 jobs. To some degree, the manufacturing jobs have migrated to mining and to Lea and Eddy counties from Albuquerque.
Leisure and hospitality added 1,500 jobs. Professional and business services lost 1,500.
Local government education was the government loser for March, down 1,900 jobs. Federal employment dropped 1,100.
More details to come April 25.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pending Home Sales Up 20%

A 20% jump in pending sales from February was the big change during March for metro Albuquerque sales of single family detached homes. Pending sales went from 793 during February to 950 for March, a 20% increase.
March marked the third consecutive month for pending sales to be less than the same month of 2013. The 950 pending sales were 14.3% behind March 2013. Pending sales of attached homes (townhouses and condominiums) also dropped, year over year, for the third month.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the March sales report yesterday, the 10th, the usual release day.
Sales per day increased during March, eliminating the argument that increasing total sales don’t count because March had three more days than February. But during March the sale closed on an average of 22,4 homes each day. For February, 19.6 was the average per day for sales closed. Total closed sales during March were 695, a 26%, or 145 unit, increase from February.
During March 2013 and February 2014, there were 59 attached homes sold. Sales were 62 units during March 2014, a 5.1% increase.
Prices showed little movement during March. The median price, $170,000, was up $1,000 from February and down $5,000, or 2.9%, from March 2013. The average price, $202,672, increased $67 from March 2013 and $4,200 from February.
Homes did sell more quickly during March. The average sales period was 74 days, a nine-day improvement from February and a day more than March 2013.

Monday, April 7, 2014

NM Economy Worst in Nation, Again

In the new issue of Department of Workforce Solutions “Labor Market Review” newsletter, DWS’ old words for losing jobs appeared lead headline, which said the state’s “rate of over-the-year job growth, comparing February 2014 with February 2013, was negative 0.2 percent, representing a loss of 1,900 jobs.”
Only on page 16, in a table, did DWS remember to mention that our “growth rate” for the year was the worst in the nation, tied with Kentucky. The news was buried about as deep as it could go without omitting it entirely.
DWS does have a new word for “losing,” as in “losing” jobs (or lost jobs. DWS offers us “contracted,” as in “The Albuquerque MSA total nonfarm employment contracted by 1.2 percent over the year (between February 2013 and February 2014) with a loss of 4,500 jobs.” That means the rest of the state added 2,600 jobs.
Albuquerque’s private sector dropped 3,900 jobs. Government chipped in another 600. The big sector hits in Albuquerque mirrored the statewide results. Professional and business services led with a decline of 1,400 jobs, followed by manufacturing, -1,000; leisure and hospitality, -1,000; and information,-900.
Wage jobs “contracted” in Santa Fe, too, “by 0.3%, representing a loss of 200 jobs.” For Farmington, DWS went with the old standard, “decreased,” to describe the city’s situation of 600 fewer jobs, or 1.2% less, over the year.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Job Losses Continue in February

If it takes three months of job losses to be in a recession, we’re on the way. The February job release from the Department of Workforce Solutions says the state lost 1,900 wage jobs, a 0.2% decline, between February 2013 and February 2014. DWS released the released this afternoon (March 28).
Job disappeared in January, too. See previous post.
The big February to February hits were in manufacturing and professional and business services. Manufacturing lost 2,000 jobs, a 7% drop from the 28,800 jobs of a year ago. PBS was down 1,900 from the February 2013 employment of 98,300.
The claim is that the finance activities sector was up 1,800 jobs over the year. This is after finance got 1,800 jobs lopped away in the benchmarking revisions covered in my new column.
The mining and logging sector resumed its role of saving the state or at least the southeast corner and state government revenue with a 1,400 job increase between February 2013 and February 2014.
All in all the private sector added 400 jobs over the year. Government lost 2,300 jobs over the year with the feds and local government both down 1,100. State government dropped 600 in education but only 100 in total. State government was up 3,800 between January and February and local grew 2,800 with 2,500 in education. The figures are not seasonally adjusted. Perhaps the monthly increase reflected post Christmas break returning to work.
A glance at county employment (different from wage jobs) shows all four metro areas with slight increases. That means the job losses were in rural counties.

Monday, March 17, 2014

State Loses Jobs. Oh, Again?

The Department of Workforce Solutions stuck with Doublespeak to report the state’s January 2013 to January 2014 job change situation this afternoon. “The rate of over-the-year job growth, comparing January 2014 with January 2013, was a negative 0.5 percent, representing a loss of 3,700 jobs,” DWS said.
Whatever the word, there were fewer jobs. Government was the leader, down 3,200 for the year. Local government led the sector, dropping 1,700 jobs for the year including 900 in “local government education.” The feds lost another 1,400. State government declined a mere 100 jobs thanks to 1,400 more wage jobs in “state government education.”
Two key basic economy sectors took hits of size for the January to January year. Manufacturing dropped 1,500 jobs, followed by professional and business services, down 1,100. This ugliness was mitigated by mining, up 1,700. The sector includes the state’s three or four logging jobs. Long live Lea County.
Leisure and Hospitality showed no change after months and months of job growth.
DWS promises details on Friday.

Monday, March 10, 2014

February Homes Sales Up, Pending Sales Down from 2013

To say that the metro Albuquerque market for single family detached homes was flat in February as compared to January is tempting. February sales were, after all, a slight 2% above January, 550 homes versus 529 homes.
Giving into the temptation forgets that January has 31 days and February has 28. A bit of calculator punching tells us that during February, homes sold at the rate of 19.6/day. The January per day sales rate was 17.4, which makes the February performance a 12.6% increase from January.
However, February flab comes with the comparison to February 2013 when sales of 542 homes closed. Our February just past with its 550 units closed showed a slight 1.5% improvement from 2013.
February pending sales followed the pattern. The February pending figure was 24 units more than January, an entirely modest 3.1% increase. During February 28.3 sales began to pend each day. In January it was 24.8 per day.
Comparing to February 2013, pending sales did better than during January when pending sales dropped 20.6% the year ago month. February 2014 pending sales were down “only” 13% from February 2013. It is difficult to see how the number of closed sales can continue to grow while pending sales decline.
February price were flat. The median price was $169,000, up just a whisker (well under one percent) from both January and February 2013. The average price, $198,483, a 2.5% drop from both January and February 2013. No million dollar-plus homes sold during February. There were three such sales a year ago.
During February the time to sale a house got longer. The 83 average time on the market for a closed sale was 83 days, up nine percent from January 2014 and February 2013.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the February sales figures today.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Homes Sales Up from 2013, Up and Down From December 2013 and January 2013

Differing directions characterized the movement of the various measures of single family detached home sales activity in metro Albuquerque from December 2013 to January 2014. The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the January sales report today. January typically is the slowest sales month of the year.
January sales of 539 homes were 116, or 18%, less than the 655 sales during December. However, following the difference theme, January 2014 sales were 59 units, or 12.3%, more than January 2013.
Pending sales went the other way with the 769 pending sales during January being 137 units, or 22%, above December. On the year-over-year comparison, January pending sales were 200 units, 20.6%, below January 2013.
The home sales that did close during January took longer. For January 2014 the average sales period was 76 days, two days more than January 2103 and up 31% from 61 sales during November.
As with the sales figures, price movement couldn’t pick a direction.
The median sales price was $167,900 for January. That was up 6.3% from January 2013 but down $17,100, or 9%, from December 2013. The median price drop from December took the price back to the level of November ($170,000) and October ($166,000)
For average prices, $203,687 in January 2014, the directions were the same, back down from the December increase but up 9.5% from $186,051 in January 2013.
For the year and including townhouses, condominiums and single family detached homes, sales were 9,741 units, a 1,342 unit, or 16%, from 2012. Annual sales hit bottom in 2011 with 7,376 units. The peak was 2005 with 14,183 units.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Abq Homes Sales, Prices, Up in December

During December, pending sales of single family detached dropped 12% from December 2012. Pending sales were 632 units during December. This was the third consecutive month for a year over year decline in pending sales. Remember the wind and cold from December 3 to 6. That certainly dampens the house-hunting incentive.
Closed sales, following a different drummer, saw the third consecutive monthly year over year increase, with 655 sales for the month, up 8% from December 2012 and 89 units or 16% from November 2013.
Those 655 closed sales were 90% of the 729 sales pending during November, a very high figure. Maybe the motive was getting the deal done before Christmas.
After a 1.6% drop from October to November, average prices, $219,909 in December, headed up with a four percent ($8,000) increase from December 2012 and six percent growth ($12,000) from November 2013. Two homes sold for $1 million or more, the same as during December 2012.
The median sales price was $185,000 for December, a nine percent increase from both November and from December 2012.
Average sales period went to 70 days in December, up from 61 in November and 62 in October.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Another Star Writer

Antonya Nelson is a star writer with a New Mexico connection. More than a connection, really. She teaches at New Mexico State University and lives in Las Cruces when she is not living in Telluride and Houston. Nelson's story, "First Husband," is in the current issue of The New Yorker.
My cue for some research was a mention in the story of "The Duke City."
Nelson's seventh short story collection is to be published next spring. She appears to be yet another of those national class one-person businesses that the powers that be don't know exists.