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.

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