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.