Thursday, December 29, 2016

NM Ties for Unemployment Lead

With 6.6% unemployed, New Mexico tied for highest unemployment in the nation with Mississippi, the District of Columbia, and Alaska.
Albuquerque swung to a year-over-year job loss in November with a decline of 500 wage jobs.
The other three metro areas went the other way. Las Cruces added 800 jobs, Santa Fe, 500, Farmington grew 300. The figures are not seasonally adjusted. The Department of Workforce solutions released the figures December 23 in its Labor Market Review newsletter.
A November to November drop in retail wage jobs of 3,400 pushed Albuquerque to the overall job loss. Statewide, retail lost 5,500 jobs. Manufacturing lost another 900 jobs for a November job total of 15,200. Growth in education and health services (Medicaid) continued with 1,200 new jobs over the year, a 1.9% increase.
Education and health services brought 1,300 jobs to Las Cruces for an 8.8% increase. Other sectors dropped 500 jobs for the year.
In Santa Fe some job sectors increase by 100 for the year. Others dropped 100. Education and health services added 400, a 4.1% increase.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Seasonal Patterns Rule Homes Sales

Seasonal patterns seem to be running the metro Albuquerque single family home sales market. The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the November sales report December 12.
November’s closed sales were down from October by 27 homes or three percent, the seasonal pattern as it gets colder. Closed sales for November were 798 homes.
The number of pending sales, 880 in November, was down 118 from 998 in October.
The sales are happening expeditiously. The homes that had sales close in November were on the market an average of 54 days, the same as October.
The comparison to 2015 remains favorable. Closed sales were up 185 from November 2015, pending sales up 26%. Home sold during November nine days faster than during November 2015.
Buyers have fewer homes to consider. The inventory of homes for sale was 3,403 in November, 17% less than November 2015 and 277 homes or eight percent less than October.
There were 969 new listings during November and 1,215 during October.
The average sales price for homes that closed sale during November was $218,795, up $223 from October and up 2.7% from October 2015. The median price, $185,000 during November, was down $4,000 from October and up 2.7% from a year before.

Friday, December 16, 2016

November Provides a Third Month for Job Losses

November was the third consecutive month for wage job losses in New Mexico. The state dropped 2,300 jobs between, or 0.3%, between November 2015 and November 2016.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released the numbers today.
The numbers are preliminary and not seasonally adjusted.
Retail trade was the biggest loser for the November to November year with 5,500 fewer jobs. Mining and logging (oil and gas) lost “only” 5,100 jobs for the period. Local government education (the public schools) added 900 jobs for month but lost 1,100 for the year.
The sector gainers started with education and health services, (aka mostly Medicaid) with 6,000 new jobs, year over year. This performance continues the slowing of the EHS growth pointed out last month.
Professional and business services added 1,800 jobs. Leisure and hospitality added 1,600.
The metro areas appear to have gained employment (slightly different from wage jobs). Thus the rural counties are taking the hit.
We just think we got trouble. Wyoming lost 8,900 jobs, year over year. Its 3.1% loss was ten times the New Mexico drop. Yet Wyoming is going to give the football coach a big raise.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Eeducation and Health Services Show Slower Growth

New Mexico’s economic deceleration continued in the year from October 2015 to October 2016. The state lost 2,900 jobs, or 0.3% for the year. The Department of Workforce Solutions released the numbers Wednesday in its Labor Market Review newsletter.
The state lost 2,000 jobs, year over year, for September, gained 1,800 jobs for August and gained 9,600 jobs for July. The numbers are not seasonally adjusted.
A partial explanation comes from the education and health services sector, (aka mostly Medicaid) which gained 11,700 jobs in the year to July, 9,900 for August, 6,100 for September and ticked ever so slightly up for October to a 6,200-job gain. EHS remains by far the sector producing the most jobs. For the year to October, professional and business services (PBS) was second with 1,700 new jobs, followed by hospitality and leisure (H&L) with 1,000 jobs.
Those same three sectors produced 2,200 new jobs for metro Albuquerque, year over year. H&L led with 800 jobs. PBS and EHS both added 700 jobs. Albuquerque gained 1,900 jobs for the year, down from a 3,600 year-over-year September gain of 3,600.
Manufacturing lost 1,200 jobs in Albuquerque while the combined mining, logging and construction sector gained 1,600. The new jobs must be in construction because the metro has few mining and logging jobs. But what is being built? Facebook has barely started hiring. What else?
The other three metro areas, Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Farmington, generated 1,000 jobs for October, year-over-year, down from 1,200 in September. The main difference was in Farmington, which lost 400 jobs in October after gained 200 in September.
Four states lost a greater percentage of their jobs over the year than did New Mexico. They are Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and Wyoming, the champs with a 3.6% loss. Utah and Colorado were, respectively, four and fifth in percentage job year over year with 3% and 2.5% more jobs.
A happy note for New Mexico of unknown effect came with the December 1 announcement that OPEC cartel member nations plus some other countries will cut oil production. The reaction appears to be higher prices for U.S. producers.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Job Losses Grow in October

New Mexico joined a select group in October with its year-over-year loss of 2,900 wage jobs, a 0.3% drop. Only four other states lost jobs. Two of the states had statistically significant losses: North Dakota, Wyoming.
Our unemployment rate, 6.7% in October, was the nation’s second highest, just behind Alaska’s 6.8%.
We lost 2,000 jobs between September 2015 and September 2016.
Mining, meaning oil and gas, added 300 jobs between September and October. The October 2015 to October 2016 loss was 6,500 jobs.
Retail trade was the second biggest year-over-year loser, down 2,800 jobs. Wholesale trade lost 900 jobs. Manufacturing dropped 1,400 jobs for the period.
Local government education was down 1,500 jobs for the year after adding 900 jobs during September.
Metro Albuquerque’s labor force increased by around 5,500 during to be 421,000. Employment was up 5,500. Employment also increased in the other three metro areas: Farmington, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.
Details to come November 30.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Single Family Home Sales Drop From October 2915

The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the October sale report the tenth. OK, a week late in getting the summary out to you.
There was news. Metro Albuquerque’s long run of monthly year-over-year single family home sales ended in October. Sales for the month were 825 homes, a 44-home, or 5.1%, drop from October 2015. Sales were well down from 969 homes in September, but that has to be the seasonal decline.
The homes the went to closing sold in an average of 54 days, five days faster than a year ago but slower than the 49 days during September and 51 days in October.
Pending sales during October went the other way, rising by five from September to 998 and posting a 152-home, or 19.4%, jump from October 2015.
Both the median and average sales prices were up about three percent from October 2015. The October 2916 median price was $189,000; the average was $218,252. The average price dropped about four percent from August and September when it was about $227,000. The October median price was just below the $190,000 median during August.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rural Counties Lose 6,800 Jobs

All four metro areas added 4,800 wage jobs between September 2015 and September 2016 as the state lost 2,000 wage jobs for the year. The Department of Workforce Solutions released the detailed numbers late Friday afternoon.
Rural counties dropped 6,800 jobs.
Albuquerque led with 3,600 new jobs, a 0.9% gain. Las Cruces added 600 jobs, plus 0.8%; Santa Fe, 400 jobs added, plus 0.6%; Farmington, plus 200 jobs, plus 0.4%. The figures are seasonally unadjusted.
Principle sector performances, statewide, for the month and for the year were:
Education and health services (Medicaid): Month +700; Year +6,100.
Professional and business services: Month +100; Year +2,600.
Leisure and hospitality (tourism): Month -3,200; Year +1,300.
Mining and logging: Month -500; Year -6,900.
Retail: Month -800; Year -2,100.
Manufacturing: month -100; Year – 1,500.
Government: Month +5,900; Year -1,500.
Information: Month -900; Year -300.
The big over-the-month loss for tourism came with the end of the visitor season.
The big monthly gain for government was in education as students returned to school. However, both state government education (universities) and local government education (K-12) lost jobs for the year.
In Albuquerque, year-over-year, both professional and business services (+1,500 and leisure and hospitality (+1,300) out performed education and health services (+1,200).
State government gained 700 jobs for the month and 1,200 for the year. Local government gained 900 jobs for the month and lost 200 for the year
Las Cruces lost 400 government jobs for the year. Santa Fe and Farmington together gained 300 government jobs. In Las Cruces the one big year-over-year gainer was education and health services with 1,200 more jobs. Nothing happened in Santa Fe with eight private sector categories showing no change over the year.

Friday, October 21, 2016

2,000 Wage Jobs Lost During September

New Mexico dropped a net of 2,000 wage jobs in the year from September 2015 to September 2016. The unemployment rate climbed another tenth of a point to 6.7%, according to the September job release from the Department of Workforce Solutions. DWS release the release late this afternoon. New Mexico had 61,454 people unemployed during September (not seasonally adjusted), an increase of almost 3,000 from September 2015.
For the month between August 2016 and September 2016, New Mexico dropped 4,200 jobs, third best nationally after Wisconsin (-10,500 jobs) and Alabama (-6,600 jobs). New Mexico did step up to lead in job loss percentage for the month at -0.5%, reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which provides the numbers to DWS.
The national unemployment rate is 5%. Colorado’s unemployment rate is 3.6%.
Texas had the largest over-the-month job gain with 38,300 and was third year-over-year at 206,800.
Along the state’s sectors, mining (i.e., oil and gas) continued to lose, down 500 more jobs for the month and 6,900 over the year. Manufacturing and government both lost 1,500 jobs. Local government education (the public schools) gained 3,800 for the month but showed a 1,200-job loss year-over-year. State government education added 3,000 jobs during the month, but lost 600 for the year.
The growing sectors continued to be education and health services (Medicaid) with 6,100 new jobs, year-over-year; professional and business services, +2,600; and leisure and hospitality (tourism) 1,300 more jobs year-over-year. Leisure and hospitality dropped 3,200 jobs during September with the end of the prime summer season.
Metro Albuquerque saw the labor force grow to 418,002 over the year, an increase of almost 6,000. Albuquerque employment grew about 4,000.
Employment in metro Las Cruces and Santa Fe grew about 1,100. Farmington employment grew by 300.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Abq Home Sales Continue Year-Over-Year Increase

During September homes both sold more quickly and for more money, according to the September sales report released today by the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors.
The number of homes offered for sale continued to drop, going from 4,553 in September 2015 and 3,982 in August 2016 to 3,902 for September 2016.
September sales of single family detached homes in metro Albuquerque showed a 10% decline from August, dropping from 1,071 in August to 969 in September. Average daily sales were 34.5 homes in August and 32.3 in September, a 2.2 unit, or six percent, drop per day. The daily sales comparison accounts for September having one less day than August.
Closed sales continued the 2016 year over year increase from 2015 with a 42-unit, or 4.5% increase from September 2015.
Detached homes were on the market an average of 49 days during September, two days less than August and ten days, or 17%, less than the 59-day average sales period from September 2015.
The median sales price, $195,000 during September, increased $16,000 or 8.4% from September 2015. That increase probably is explained by the September 2015 median sales prices, $179,000, showing an unusual drop. The $195,000 median sales price was $5,000 or three percent, more than August.
The average sales price was $227,898 during September. That was up $1,400 from August and $6,000 or 2.7% more than September 2015.
There were 73 “attached homes” (townhouses or condominiums) sold during September, down 24% from September 2015. However, pending sales increased 14 units to 103 during September 2016 from 89 in September 2015.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Job for August: Not Much Happening

September 29, 2016
Modestly detailed wage job numbers appear each month for four areas of the New Mexico economy—the entire state and the metro areas of Albuquerque Santa Fe, and Las Cruces. The Farmington metro (San Juan County) only gets summary numbers.
For the state and for Las Cruces the education and health services sector more that explained all the seasonally unadjusted wage job growth between August 2015 and August 2016, according to figures released Tuesday from the Department of Workforce Solutions.
The state has 9,900 new EHS jobs with 1,800 total new jobs, i.e., a net loss of 8,100 jobs from all other sectors. Leisure and hospitality added 2,500 jobs statewide year-over-year.
In Santa Fe it was a tie between EHS and tourism, aka leisure and hospitality, each with 400 new jobs over the year and 1,100 new jobs total. There were 400 new jobs in “other services.”
Las Cruces produced 400 new jobs and 900 in EHS, for a loss of 500 in other sectors.
Besides EHS, in Albuquerque professional and business services show a decent gain of 1,200 jobs for the year. EHS is the only other big winner with 3,300 jobs.
The statewide losers continue to be mining (oil and gas), -6,800, and manufacturing, -1,700.
Zeros litter the metro jobs reports. Not much is happening.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mining Losses Grow During August

More Medicaid and tourism, less mining. Same sectors did the same things during the year from August 2015 to August 2016.
Our unemployment rate change from July to August is considered statistically significant by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which prepares the numbers and sends then to the Department of Workforce Solutions, which sent the news release this afternoon. The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate went to 6.6% in August from 6.4% in July. We added 2,651 people to the unemployed rolls between August 2015 and August 2016. The August unemployment was 63,970, seasonally unadjusted, and the labor force was 924,095.
Adjust for the seasons and unemployment was up 178, year over year, to 61,292, with employment at 927,810.
Back to being unadjusted, we added 1,800 wage jobs over the year, a rockin’ 0.2% growth rate.
Ming and logging (pretty much oil and gas) dropped 6,800 jobs year over year, 200 greater annual loss than from July 2015 to July 2016 with 400 jobs gone between July and August. DWS somehow couldn’t mention the July to July performance, instead calling attention to the 7,500-job decline in February. Right!
Increases came with the usual suspects: Education and health services (Medicaid, mostly) +9,900; Leisure and hospitality, +2,500; professional and business services, +1,500.
Manufacturing dropped 1,700 jobs over the year, but sector job total held at 26,500 from July to August. Retail trade dropped 1,600 jobs.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Metro Real Estate Market Flat in August

After dropping in July to 990, pending sales of single family detached homes in metro Albuquerque rebounded to 1,148 in August, the highest pending performance of 2016. The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the August sales report on Monday afternoon. Until July, pending sales had been above 1,000 since February.
Those 1,148 pending sales showed a 24% improvement from August 2015.
Outside the pending category, the metro Albuquerque was quiet during August as compared to July.
Closed sales of detached homes “jumped” two units from July to 1,071 in August. That performance, the second highest of the year following June, did show a nine percent increase from August 2015.
The median sales price was $190,000 during August. The average price was $226,422. Both were a 1.6% increase from August 2015 and a slight increase from July.
Detached metro homes were on the market an average of 51 days until selling, a five day shorter sales period than during August 2015. The sales period average 48 days during July and 47 for June.
There were 1,541 detached homes newly listed on the market during August, the second lowest new listing month of 2016 after short February.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Las Cruces Wage Jobs Grow 2%

It’s been a while since a two percent year-over-year wage job growth report appeared in the state. Las Cruces, long a metro laggard, made the grade with two percent growth between July 2015 and July 2016.
Albuquerque and Santa Fe did decently well by the New Mexico low bar with, respectively, 5,300 new jobs and 1.4 percent growth and 1,100 jobs and a 1.7 percent increase. Farmington dropped the ball with a loss of 300 jobs, or 0.6 percent, during the period.
The four-metro net job increase was 7,500, which means the rural counties added 2,100 jobs to make the state’s 9,600 new jobs. All these figures are seasonally unadjusted.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released the July job report this afternoon.
New Mexico lost 6,800 jobs during July and gained 9,600 jobs over the year between July 2015 and July 2016. The July losses concentrated in local government, down 6,100 jobs with 5,000 fewer jobs in education. This DWS explains, is an entirely season phenomenon.
Of the 11,700 education and health services new jobs year-over-year mentioned last week, 3,900 were in Albuquerque, 1,200 in Santa Fe and 500 in Santa Fe. The total for the three metros was 5,600 EHS jobs, or 48 percent of the state total. EHS employees worked an average of 32.1 hours each week and earned $20.27 per hour.
Besides EHS, Albuquerque’s other big gainer was professional and business services with 1,800 new jobs year over year. Leisure and hospitality added 500 jobs. Manufacturing lost 1,200.
The 1,200 new EHS jobs in Las Cruces largely explain the city’s year over year job gain of 1,400 jobs.

Friday, August 19, 2016

NM Adds 11,700 Education/Health Jobs. Maybe

If this keeps up, the only people working in New Mexico will be part of the education and health services sector. That’s because the EHS sector added 11,700 jobs between July 2016 and July 2017, the Department of Workforce Solutions reported this afternoon with a straight face. That’s 2,100 more than the seasonally unadjusted wage job growth of 9,600 jobs for the entire state. And that means all the other job sectors sector together lost those 2,100 jobs.
Or not. The DWS release said, “Based on historical seasonal patterns, which have previously shown employment decreases in June and July, these gains are expected to be revised down later.” No DWS estimates appeared for the presumably coming revisions.
The state’s unemployment rate bumped to a seasonally adjusted 6.4%, for third place nationally behind Alaska (6.7%) and Nevada (6.5%). Our unemployment rate increase from 6.2% in June to 6.4% was considered “statistically significant” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, federal source of the numbers processed by DWS. The labor force grew by 8,500 (encroaching optimism?) to 926,421. The number of wage jobs, seasonally adjusted, grew 7,600 to 830,500.
The mining/logging sector lost 6,600 jobs, year over year. In Lea County, the labor force has dropped 1,200 over the year to 28,291, seasonally unadjusted; employment has dropped 2,000, pushing the unemployment rate to 9.9%.
Manufacturing continued to erode, down another 1,600 jobs to 26,400.
A piece of good news is the 1,900-job increase in professional and business services, pushing the sector total to 102,500. Local government, that engine of growth, added 3,200 jobs, year over year.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Metro Abq Home Sales Down in July

Sales of single family detached homes in metro Albuquerque dropped 1.5% or 16 units from July, according to the monthly sales report released today by the greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors ( The 1,058 closed sales were two ahead of July 2015.
The pending sales are moving to closed sales. In July, 90% of the 1,173 sales pending during June were closed. It was 89% of May pending sales closing in June.
The sold homes were on the market an average of 48 days during July, three more days than during June. This 48-day figure was 12 days, or 20%, faster than the 60 average sales period during July 2015.
Sellers are pretty much getting the price they ask. The selling price was 97.9% of the list price during July. That was a slight increase, one-half of one percent, from July.
Though median and average prices increased from July 2015, the prices dropped from June.
The median detached home price was $189,900, + 3.2% from $184,000 in July 2015 and down 4.6% from $199,000 in June
The average price was $226,192, a 6.8% increase from $2211,769 in July 2015 and down 4% from $235,110 in June.
For attached homes—condos and townhouses—down was the direction for closed sales and prices, both median and average.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Permian Still Loved

The Permian Basin remains a favorite for investors and energy companies. The Permian is in West Texas and loops into southeast New Mexico, Lea County in particular. This comment is from the Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, August 6-7, 2016 issue, page B1.
"'We don't see a world in which you can balance the supply equation without the Permian,' said Brian Bradshaw, co-chief investment officer at a hedge-fund firm founded by famed oil man, T. Boone Pickens."
The comment was in a story about Parsley Energy, Inc., of Austin and its founder Bryan Sheffield, becoming a billionaire at age 38.

Friday, July 29, 2016

All Four NM Metro Areas Add June Jobs

All four New Mexico metro areas added jobs in June, something of a rarity. The Department of Workforce Solutions released the numbers today in its Labor Market Review newsletter.
The metro areas accounted for 11,000 new wage jobs (not seasonally adjusted) in the year from June 2015 to June 2016. Rural counties generated 3,000 new wage jobs, year over year, to produce the statewide total of 14,000 jobs. The statewide job growth was a 1.7%, good for a heady 25th place among state job growth rates. New Mexico tied with Ohio. One can just imagine Susana Martinez and John Kasich jointly touting their state’s “success.”
Metro Albuquerque added 9,100 jobs, a 2.4% increase, with 1,000 in Santa Fe, 800 in Las Cruces and 100 in Farmington.
In Albuquerque, education and health services (i.e., mostly Medicaid) showed 3,500 new wage jobs, year over year. Professional and business services, full of basic industry types such as computer consultants, showed 2,500 new jobs, followed by leisure and hospitality with 1,900 jobs. The three sectors produced 7,900 jobs, over the year, 87% of metro Albuquerque’s new jobs.
Education and health services had 800 new jobs in Santa Fe over the year with another 500 from leisure and hospitality (tourism). Together the two sectors found 1,300 new jobs, year over year, meaning that all other economic activity in the City Different combined to lose 300 jobs. DWS reminded us that the City of Santa Fe will lay off 40 employees to closed a $12 million (or so) budget hole. The job losers, all classified as 90-day emergency hires, have been employed for up to eight years.
In Las Cruces, education and health services dominated with 1,000 new jobs, 200 more than the metro’s 800 new jobs.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Seasonally Adjust the Job Numbers and Nice Increase Drops 45%

No real new news came from the June jobs release this afternoon from the Department Workforce Solutions. The year over year (June 2015 to June 2016) wage job increase figure did improve to 14,000, almost five times the 2,900 new jobs reported from May 2015 to May 2016. So I guess that’s news. The performance is not considered statistically significant by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also released figures today.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the BLS said, the year over year increase as 7,700, or 0.93%. Seasonally adjusted, the state has added 2,000 jobs since April. Not much.
At 6.2%, the state’s June unemployment rate remains statistically significantly higher than the national rate of 4.9%.
The same-old-same-old is that 70% of the increase, or 9,800 jobs, came from the education and health services sector, which mostly means Medicaid.
Another 5,300 jobs came from leisure and hospitality, which is mostly tourism and is having a good year, according to the Tourism Department. The sector’s 5.9% increase was the largest, DWS said, since sector sectors began in 1990.
Mining (mostly oil and gas production) and logging added 400 jobs during May. The year over year loss was 5,900 jobs, the smallest since November 2015. This report is consistent with national reports that oil production firms are adding a few jobs.
Between May and June unemployment grew another 332 people, a 13.2% jump, and at 9.7% ranked third highest in the state. The Farmington unemployment rate is 9.1%.
Professional and business services, home to landscape architects and technical consultants, added 3,900 jobs over the year, a nice 3.8% increase. The PBS sector reclaimed the 100,000-job level in April.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

El Paso Job Growth Highest Since Recession

From Southwest Economy, a quarterly publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.)
"El Paso boomed in 2015, posting its highest rate of job growth since before the Great Recession while the rest of the state slowed markedly. El Paso continues to outperform the state but has decelerated somewhat, with employment declines in the goods-producing sector out- weighed by job creation in the services sector.
"The El Paso Business-Cycle Index expanded an an- nualized 1.8 percent in April. Job creation and a decline in the unemployment rate have contributed to business-cycle gains.
"El Paso employment grew at an annualized monthly rate of 2.1 percent in April. Job growth was mixed across industries. Leisure and hospitality gained the most at 14.1 percent. Trade, transportation and utilities continued to be fast growing, rising 11 percent. The increases may be linked to strong manufacturing activity south of the Rio Grande.
"—Adapted from El Paso Economic Indicators, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, May 2016"

Monday, July 11, 2016

Average Sale Period Drops to 45 Days

The circle is virtuous in the world residential real estate in metro Albuquerque, according to the June Market Report released today by the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors (
At least life is good to the real estate sales people and the sellers. For buyers, perhaps less so. If one wants a home, one has to pay.
The supply is low with 3,553 homes available. At the present sales pace, it would take 4.17 months to sell the available homes. An “average market is traditionally a six-month supply,” the GAAR report says.
Those homes are selling quickly with an average number of days on the market at 45, down from 49 in May and 57 in April. In January 2015, it took an average of 81 days for a home to sell.
The sale of 1,076 homes closed during June, up 9% from both May 2016 and June 2015. The average price of those homes was $235,110, up almost $22,000 from June 2014. The average price during June was pushed by the sale of four homes in the $1 million or more price group. The median price was $199,000 and increase of $6,000, or 3%, from May and a jump of $14,000 from April. The median price was 4.3% more than the $190,788 seen in June 2015.
A note of caution appears in the drop of the number of pending sales from 1,215 in May to 1,173 in June.
Through the first six months of 2016, the sale has closed on 5,636 homes, an 11% increase from the same period in 2015.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Taos, "A Living Symbol." Of What? Notes from NM Quarterly

The notes that follow were taken by Harold Morgan, copying from the summer 1951 issue of New Mexico Quarterly. At the Harwood Gallery (The Gallery is in Taos. The exhibit runs May 22 to September 11.) exhibit about Mabel Dodge Luhan, a page from the Quarterly was open. For some reason a phrase stood out—“a living symbol.” The obvious question was, “of what?”
The staff at the Center for Southwest Research at the University of New Mexico’s Zimmerman Library was very helpful in pulling the issue from their basement, which is their procedure. The actual issue does not leave the Center. The alleged communications staffer at Harwood was no help.
The copy on the page proved to be an editor’s note from George Arms, who said,
“In this issue the Quarterly is happy to present a section on Taos by writers of Taos. For the world Taos has become a living symbol, and it is rewarding to have this symbol explored in these pages.”
The contributors were Mabel Dodge Luhan, Frieda Lawrence (widow of D.H. Lawrence and still living in Taos in 1951), Alexandra Fechin (wife of Nicolai, Russian artist, whose home is now the Taos Art Museum), Frank Waters (novelist), Andrew Dasburg (painter), Kenneth Adams (painter), Spud Johnson, Laura Gilpin (photographer), Carl Van Vechten (photographer), John Candelario (photographer) and Henry Prior Clark.
Luhan, the first of the contributors, wrote, “People used to come to Taos almost as though they had to.
“Taos brings out the particularity in people. This is the most interesting place in the world, I think.
“There is no standardization here, no social structure. (HM Note: Check with Taos Pueblo on this point.)
“Taos does things to people.
“…mysterious enlightenment of our Taos ambiente” (atmosphere or environment).

The Alexandra Fechin article was, “European Aspects of Cosmopolitan Taos.”

Other visitors to Luhan in Taos included Thornton Wilder (playwright and novelist), Willa Cather (novelist, “Death Comes for the Archibishop”), Leopold Stokowski and Georgia O’Keefe.

The Taos Society of Artists, a sort of a trade group, was founded in 1915. Wikipedia calls it a commercial cooperative. Luhan came to Taos in 1918.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Abq Leads NM Job Growth

Albuquerque leads the New Mexico economy. For the moment, anyway.
Metro Albuquerque added 5,500 wage jobs in the year between May 2015 and May 2016. (All the numbers here are not seasonally adjusted. The numbers were released Friday, the 24th, by the Department of Workforce Solutions, in the afternoon.)
That’s 2,600 more jobs than the entire state added. Albuquerque’s year-over-year percentage growth was even slightly decent at 1.3%, though behind six states in the region.
Our other three metro areas added 600 wage jobs. Las Cruces wage job total grew by 600, a modest 0.8% increase. Santa Fe, up 100 jobs, offset Farmington, which dropped 100 jobs.
The state held its fourth place national ranking in unemployment rate with 6.2% in May down from 6.6% May 2015. The job increase percentage ranked 43rd at 0.3%.
As usual, education and health services led Albuquerque’s job growth with 2,200 new wage jobs over the year, though down 500 from April. Professional and business services added 1,300 jobs.
On the strength of 900 new state government jobs, government in Albuquerque was up 700 jobs.
Manufacturing continued to erode, down 400 jobs in Albuquerque and another 300 statewide.
Education and health services led the Las Cruces growth with 900 new jobs. In Santa Fe, leisure and hospitality led with 500 jobs as visitor businesses geared up for the summer.
Government got an extended treatment from DWS this month. New Mexico’s combined share of state and local government jobs was 18.7%, good for fifth nationally. Add the feds and government employs 22.3% of New Mexicans, fourth nationally behind Washington, D.C. (31.9%), Wyoming (23.6%) and Alaska (23%). The caveat on New Mexico’s numbers is that our national laboratories are nominally in the private sector as they are managed by private firms.
The government employment percentage in New Mexico has dropped from 24.2% in 2010. Local government employment has increased by 34 jobs to 102,576 between 2006 and 2015.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

State Gains Jobs During May; Thank Bernalillo County

A little bit is happening with New Mexico’s wage job picture. Or at least the Department of Workforce Solutions thinks so. The monthly summary news release, which appeared yesterday, reports 2,900 net new wage jobs between May 2015 and May 2016, a gain of 0.3% for the year.
The year-over-year April to April job loss of 300 went away with the disappearance of the mystery loss for the April-to-April year of 1,600 jobs in leisure and hospitality. DWS called it a “significant upward revision” and offered nothing more.
In the sectors, not seasonally adjusted, education and health services (+5,200) and leisure and hospitality (3,400) continue to rock. Professional and business services is doing decently with a year-over-year gain of 1,900 jobs or just over 2%. Nearly all the government gain of 1,400 jobs came from local government, up 1,200 jobs. Local government education, meaning the public schools, was down 300, perhaps reflecting the end of school.
Mining and logging (mostly oil and gas production) remain the biggest loser, down 6,500 for the year and 900 during May. Transportation, warehousing and utilities dropped 1,400 jobs over the year, an impressive 5.7% loss. DWS offered no explanation. Manufacturing lost another 700 jobs. Retail dropped 700 with another 100 lost in wholesale trade.
The release shows county numbers for labor force, employment (different from wage jobs) and unemployment. The combined Eddy and Lea County figures don’t explain the mining/logging job loss, nor should they. I would have expected them to be closer. Employment in Eddy and Lea County combined dropped 2,933 year-over-year. Lea County lost 1,744. Eddy lost 1,189. That’s a 5.3% drop from the May 2015 combined employment of 55,322.
Statewide the employment gain was 2,473. In Bernalillo County the gain was 4,239, meaning that the rest of the state lost 1,766 jobs, a performance attributable to Lea and Eddy counties.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Metro Single Family Home Prices Highest Since 2008

During May median and average prices for metro Albuquerque single-family detached homes hit the highest level for May since 2008, the year of the market peak.
With 984 closed sales during May, up nine percent from May 2015 and with a 54 unit or six percent from April, sales continued improving. Those 984 sales closed in an average of 49 days, eight days faster than April and 13 days quicker than May 2015. The average sale period was 70 days in February.
The number of pending sales during May—1,215—showed a miniscule four-unit increase from April and declined 19 units of 1.5% from May 2015, suggesting a slowing of the sales pace. During May 81% of April’s 1,211 pending sales turned into closed sales.
The median sales price was $193,000 during May, an $8,000 increase from April and up $12,000 from May 2015.
The $228,457 average sales price for May was up $11,000 from April and increased $10,000 from May 2015. Both the median and average price were the highest since the beginning of 2014.
For condos and townhouses, the average ($151,686) and median ($147,250) price dropped slightly during May.
Detached homes in the $200,000 to $249,000 price remained the biggest sellers. During May five homes sold in the $750,000 to $999,000 group and two sold for $1 million or more.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Eight States Lose Jobs in April; NM Loses the Fewest

The detailed wage job numbers for April, released late this afternoon by the Department of Workforce Solutions, confirm that metro Albuquerque is doing almost decently and certainly better than everywhere else in New Mexico. The figures below are not seasonally adjusted.
Albuquerque gained 3,200 jobs for the month and 4,700 for the year between April 2015 and April 2016. The year-over-year increase was 1.2%, hardly stellar, but far better than the state and other metro areas.
Farmington continued its unhappy performance with a 400-job loss, or 0.78%, over the year. Santa Fe added 500 jobs. Education and Health Services, up 500 jobs for the year, explains the Santa Fe growth.
Las Cruces added 200. The Las Cruces growth came on the strength of 900 more jobs in Education and Health Services, a 6.2% increase. Other Las Cruces sectors either lost a little or showed no change for the month.
In metro Albuquerque, as elsewhere, Education and Health Services led the growth, up 5.2%, or 3,200 jobs, year over year. Professional and business services added 1,400 jobs while state government chipped in with 1,000.
The state’s loss of 300 jobs led the eight job-loser states in the sense of the smallest percentage drop. New Mexico’s 6.6% unemployment rate is fourth among the states after the District of Columbia, West Virginia and Nevada. Only one New Mexico county, Luna, has an unemployment rate over ten percent. The Luna rate is 15.6%.
Oil production is the state’s job problem these days with aggregate mining and logging sector down 6,400 jobs or about 25% year-over-year. This reverses the situation of the last ten years or so where oil and gas production has provided nearly all the job growth.

Monday, May 23, 2016

NM Metro Areas: Successful Aging

A recent column discussed the characteristics of New Mexico's metro areas as places for older people. The information came from a report by the Milken Foundation of Los Angeles. The locations for the data about state cities is:
From the Milken institute

Large cities Madison #1

#100 Stockton-Lodi, CA

Albuquerque #67

Small Cities
#1 Iowa City #252 Vineland/Bridgeton, NJ

Santa Fe #76

Las Cruces #140

Farmington #169

Friday, May 20, 2016

State Job Picture Nets Nothing. Abq improves 1%.

Some economic improvement seems to be happening in Albuquerque, meaning Bernalillo County. In April, as compared to April 2015, the labor force was up 2,500. Employment was up 5,000 and unemployment was down 2,400. The employment gain is about 1.3%, so hold the excitement. The net is a 4.9% unemployment rate for April.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released the job report this afternoon.
The state is another story. Basically, oil offset welfare for a net of nothing.
The wage job total dropped 300, April to April. Since all these ever so precise numbers come from estimates, the total could just as well have been a 300-job increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics review of statistically significant job happenings during the month left out New Mexico. The NM DWS gets the numbers from the BLS.
Mining, meaning, mostly, oil and gas has lost a quarter of its jobs since April 2015. More are coming (or going). A potash mine is closing in Carlsbad. Intrepid Potash is putting its West facility into what it calls “a care and maintenance mode” in July and laying off 300 employees. Intrepid got 42% of its potash production from the West facility in 2015, the company said.
The sectors with larger job increases were education and health services, plus 6,900 jobs or 5.2%, and professional and business services, plus 1,400 jobs or 1.4%.
A surprise was the 1,600 one-month job loss in leisure and hospitality. DWS’ explanation was the changes appear “to be due to atypical seasonal changes in several subsector areas in the industry.” If you understand that, let me know.
Another DWS explanatory winner was about mining, “Growth fell negative in March 2015 and has declined in every month since January 2015, except the last two months.”

Metro Home Sales Continued to Increase During April

Since January the monthly number of closed sales of single family detached homes in metro Albuquerque has increased 336 units, or 57%. During April there were 930 homes with sales closed. It was 594 in January.
The big leap was between February and March. The pace of increase slowed considerably in April with sales up 34 units or 4% over March. Still, April closed sales were a nice 10.2% over the 844 closed sales in April 2015.
Homes with the sale closing during April sold in an average of 57 days. That was 13 days faster than during April 2015.
Pending sales—1,211 in April—were 3% over March and 2.6% above the 1,180 pending sales in April 2015.
The 1,650 new listings during April were up slightly—23 units—from March and down 1.6% from April 2015. The 3,275 listings active during April were down 17% from a year ago. Active listings are down a third since the recent peak of 5,043 in August 2014.
Both Median and average prices increased during April over the previous year. The $185,000 median price was 4.6% above the $177,500 during April 2015. The average price, $217,616, increased 3.5% or about $7,000 from April 2015, but dropped $535 from March.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Leisure and Hospitality Jobs Up 5.3%, Mining down 25%

The start the year, New Mexico’s job engine (snicker) showed a January 2015 to January 2016 performance of a decrease of 1,800 jobs. The year-over-year “growth” for February was 300, meaning zero, which the Department of Workforce Solutions pointed out before talking about the “month’s very modest gain.”
For March the year-over-year gain was 3,000 jobs, probably enough to mean that indeed a few jobs were added around the state after considering statistical variability.
For the sectors, leisure and hospitality led the percentage growth with a 5.3% increase from 4,800 jobs. The larger education and health services sector led the number gain with 6,800 new jobs, or 5.1%.
Professional and business services (+800 jobs), construction (+700 jobs) and other services (+600) were the other private sector gainers.
Local government added 800 jobs. The devil in that detail is the 800-job loss in local government education, namely the public schools, which means that the rest of local government gained 1,600 jobs.
Mining is down 6,900 jobs, or a bit more than 25%, from a year ago. The sector now has 20,100 jobs.
Employment (different from wage jobs) was up about 5,500 in metro Albuquerque to 392,000. In Farmington, employment dropped about 700 during the year and increased 600 in Las Cruces and 200 in Santa Fe.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Home Sales Jump 40% in March

The February increase in metro Albuquerque sales of single family detached homes appears to have turned into the spring seasonal increase. Closed sales during March jumped 40% from February to 896 units, an 8.3 hike from March 2016.
Those 896 homes sold in an average of 62 days, an eight day improvement from February.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the March sales figures on April 11.
The market remains tight, tilting toward sellers. The adsorption rate is 3.85, indicating that it would take 3.85 months to clear the present inventory of 3198 detached homes.
The negative, if one wants to call it that, is that the March jump was lower than the 49% that sales during March 2015 grew from February 2015.
The March 2016 closed sales were 86% of the 1,040 sales pending during February. For March, pending sales increased to 1,188, up 148 from February, or 14%. The March pending sales were 7.8% ahead of March 2015.
Though still below last fall, prices are doing well for a March. The March median price of $180,000 is the highest March median since 2009. The March median increased $2,000 from February and was up 2.9% from a year ago.
The March average price, $218,141, is also the highest since 2009. The March average was nearly $6,000 more than February, a three percent increase, and a 3.8% increase from March 2015.
Sale of ten detached homes in the $750,000 - $999,000 price range helped the average price. This category had two March sales last year and three in 2015.

Monday, April 4, 2016

ART Draws Lawsuit

The proposed Albuquerque Rapid Transit project has drawn a lawsuit, the Albuquerque Journal reported today. Another suit is expected. While I'm totally outside active participation in this dispute, the suits appear to be part of a delaying approach by opponents. The project would run a bus line using fancy buses down the middle of Central Ave., eating two of the four present traffic lanes. Opposition has been vehement.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Abq Homes Sales Up 7% in February

After the way up and way down gyrations of December and January, sales of single family detached homes in metro Albuquerque resumed an upward path in February and threw in nice year over-year and month-over-month price increases as a bonus. The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors ( released the February sales report today.
Sales closed on 638 homes during February, a 44 unit, or 7% increase from January, and an 84 unit or 15.2% jump from January 2015.
Sale was pending on 638 metro homes during February, up 128 homes, or 14%, from January and up 119 homes, or 13% from February 2015. Of the 912 homes with sale pending in January, 70%, a relatively low figure, turned into closed sales in February.
Across the entire metro, the homes with sales closing were on the market for 70 days, three days less than February 2015 but six days more than January. The sales were much slower in Rio Rancho, where homes were on the market for 82 days. It was 62 days in Albuquerque.
The average sales price, $212,172 in February, dropped two percent, or $5,075, month-over-month but was up 6.5%, or about $13,000, from February 2015. That $212,172 average was the highest February average since 2011. One reason the average price dropped was that the month’s best selling price group was the $120,000 to $139,999 range with 83 sales, a 36% year over-year hike. In February 2105, the group ranked third in sales.
February’s median sales price, $178,000, was the highest February median since 2009. The $178,000 median was up five percent, or $9,000, year over-year and increased $3,000 from January.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Abq January Home Sales Down 26%

After inexplicably jumping 26% between November and December, closed sales of metro Albuquerque single family detached homes more than gave away the December gains with a 26%, or 213 unit, drop in January.
The 594 closed sales during January were 10.6% more than December 2014 closed sales of 656 homes.
The suggestion of improved sales during February comes from the 34% increase to 912 homes of pending sales during January. That’s a 233 unit or 34% increase.
It took an average of 64 days for a home to sale during January, fairly quick, but still the longest sales period since April 2015.
The median price for home with sales closed during January was $175,000, up 3.2% from January 2015, but down $500 from December. The $175,000 median price was the lowest since $175,000 in March 2015.
January’s average price was $217,247, up 4%, or $9,018, from December and up 6.8% from January 2015. Three homes sold in the million dollar plus price range helped that average as did eight in the $750,000 to $999,000 range where four homes sold a year ago.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Luján Statement on Pearce Gold King Mine Bill

The statement below was provided by the office of Rep. Ben Ray Lujan in response to my request for comment about Rep. Steve Pearce's Gold King Accountability Act of 2016. At 154-words the statement is too long to include in my column about Pearce's bill. The point of requesting comment was that the river pollution from the mine spill happened in Lujan's district. For reader convenience the statement is posted here.

Received February 5, 2016 via email from Monica Sanchez, a member of Rep. Lujan's Washington, D.C., staff

“The Gold King Mine spill has taken a huge toll on communities in New Mexico and on the Navajo Nation, impacting businesses, farmers, and ranchers. I am pleased that Congressman Pearce’s legislation includes provisions that are in the Gold King Mine Spill Recovery Act, which I introduced in September with New Mexico’s Senators and Congresswoman Lujan Grisham. These provisions establish an office within the EPA to provide compensation to make those impacted whole and require the agency to work with state, local, and tribal governments to ensure long-term water quality monitoring.

“While I have some concerns with Congressman Pearce’s bill, I am committed to holding the EPA accountable for this disaster. That is why I traveled to San Juan County immediately following the spill to participate in the first of a series of community meetings, met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in Farmington and Durango, and have repeatedly questioned EPA officials at Congressional hearings.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

State Job Growth Slows, Three Metros Lose

During the year from November 2014 to November 2015, metro Albuquerque gained 7,200 seasonally unadjusted wage jobs. For December the year-over-year gain dropped to 5,000 on the “strength” of losing 2,400 jobs between November and December.
Over the year, Santa Fe (-100), Farmington (-1,000) and as Cruces (-1,100) combined to lose 2,200 jobs. That was 400 fewer jobs lost than during the November 2-14 to November 2015 year.
The state gained 2,600 jobs for the year and lost 1,800 for the month. Seven states performed worse than New Mexico. Two showed no job total change and five lost jobs.
Retail trade was the leading loser for the month, down 1,200 jobs, which generated a 900 job loss for the year. That retail trade would lose jobs during December seems curious, what with the holiday shopping. The retail losses concentrated in Albuquerque, down 700 for the month and 800 for the year. Albuquerque is the sate’s retail center.
Making the state/Albuquerque retail performance is Las Cruces showing no change for the month and the year and Santa Fe with no change for the month and 100 more jobs for the year.
In Albuquerque professional and business services lost 300 jobs for the month and gained 3,700 for the year. Education and health services had no change for the month and 1,500 more jobs for the year. Leisure and hospitality dropped 400 jobs for the month and gained 1,200 for the year.
Statewide, leisure and hospitality showed 1,100 more jobs during the month and 4,400 over the year. Education and health services had 2,900 more jobs year-over-year and 300 more for the month. Professional and business services also added 300 jobs during December and 2,500 year-over-year.
The Las Cruces jobs losses were professional and business services (-700), leisure and hospitality (-300), construction (-300) and manufacturing (-100). Except for September 2014, Las Cruces has lost jobs since May 2014.

Monday, February 1, 2016

NM As Federal Colony. Acoma Myth Continued

In December 2014, the Journal’s Win Quigley compared New Mexico to Equatorial Guinea.
In his January 31 Up Front column, he was back at it.
There is a photo of the Onate statue in Alcalde. The photo caption mentions, “Acoma Indians whose feet were amputated…” Thomas Chavez and John Kessell, two of our leading historians, both say that while the Spanish ordered amputation as punishment for opposing the Spanish, no evidence exists that the mutilation actually happened. Kessell’s point was that the Spanish were meticulous record keepers, but record exists of the actual amputation.
Sloppy. And perpetuating a myth of the evil Spanish.
More important, Quigley, without supporting evidence, writes “of our almost total dependence on federal energy and defense spending for what economic progress we did enjoy in the 20th century…”
To be sure, defense spending drove growth in the 1940s and 50s as the Bernalillo County population about doubled during each decade and others grew rapidly.
I’m not sure the meaning of “almost total dependence…”
But Quigley misses a few things, starting more than a century ago with art and tourism development by the Santa Fe Railway. Oil in Lea County starting in 1928. Potash in Lea and Eddy Counties. Skiing. Natural gas in San Juan County. Intel and other silicon wafer manufacturing. The Santa Fe Institute. St. John’s College.
Quigley worked for Digital Equipment Corp., a computer manufacturer. I guess he forgot that. Or maybe DEC, which came and went, doesn’t count as “economic progress.” The old DEC plant now houses a bunch of service businesses. While these businesses probably provide less value added than building computers, they are more than the pre-DEC value added, which was nothing.
Quigley says, “New Mexico, as a ward of Washington, in some ways remains a colony to this day,” just as under the Spanish. Quigley says New Mexico also was a colony of the United States. Wrong. New Mexico was a territory, something quite different.
But stealing the local’s land was the game after the Civil War. Today the results are “living history,” Quigley calls it, and “a nightmare.” Rampant victimhood is one result, I believe.
Quigley’s image of New Mexico as a “colony” suggests that we cower here under the lash of the federal government. Hardly.
Our federal scientific facilities do work around the world. They work with other labs (Are Argonne or Lawrence Livermore colonies?). Lab staff commute to Washington, D.C. and D.C. staff commute to New Mexico.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Martinez’ Crime Policies Watched

Crime policy actions by Governor Susana Martinez are watched nationally. The attention comes because Martinez’ previous job was a Dona Ana County district attorney. The observation came from Vikrant Reddy, senior research fellow for the Charles Koch Institute.
Reddy was in New Mexico pitching criminal justice system reform. The Institute hosted events in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Retired very famous race driver Bobby Unser was Albuquerque’s star attraction. He told of his nearly fatal adventure getting lost in a blizzard near Chama while snow mobiling above timberline. Unser and his companion spent three nights on the mountain in snow caves.
Once rescued Unser was charged with wrongly being on forest service land with the snow mobiles and assessed a $75 fine. Unser suggest what the feds could do with their charge and the fine and took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. “You have to stand for something,” Unser said.
Reddy, who is from Texas and ought to know better, told the audiences in Albuquerque and Santa Fe how wonderful he thought it was to have found, on a previous trip to Albuquerque, people as varied as a physicist and a rancher who were very politically informed.
Actually, Texans can be condescending about almost everything.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Nation’s Unemployment Rate Leader Again

The unemployment rate in New Mexico dropped a hair in December (0.01 points) but managed a second month as the nation’s highest with 6.7% unemployment. That rate, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics news release put it, is “significantly different” from the national 5% unemployment rate on a seasonally adjusted basis. The unemployment rate was 6.8% in November and October.
Of the 26 states with a statistically significant unemployment rate change between December 2014 and December 2015, New Mexico was the only one where the rate increased. Seven other states showed rate increases over the year, but nothing significant. The unemployment rate dropped in 42 states and the District of Columbia, the BLS said.
This is just amazing. Not that we didn’t already know it.
The Department of Workforce Solutions overlooked these two details in its release about the job numbers. No surprise.
Our wage employment did increase during the year, going from 827,400 in December 2014 to 830,000 a year later, a 2,600-job, or 0.3% (three-tenths of one percent). The “improvement” rode a 2,900 job, or 2.2%, increase in education and health services, which means Medicaid.
Behind the New Mexico performance is a 4,500-person seasonally adjusted year-over-year drop in the labor force. The labor force is defined as people working or looking for work. That group of 4,500 gave up.
Meanwhile the number of unemployed grew 6,000 over the year from 55,100 in December 2014 to 61,100 in December 2015, an 11% jump.
The job growth came in leisure and hospitality (tourism + skiing), professional and business services, and education and health care (Medicaid). Carroll Cagle has a nice summary of the number (and it’s a big one) that Medicaid is doing on state finances. See the News and Views Blog at
Employment, which is somewhat different from wage jobs, in Lea County dropped 2,388 during the year from 29,390 to 27,302.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Abq Home Sales Take Surprising Jump in December

The sale of 807 single family detached homes closed in Metro Albuquerque during December. The performance is amazing. Two reasons: The December performance was 23% ahead of December 2014. It happened in an economy that seems to be improving, but with a good many of the new jobs coming from Medicaid (i.e., welfare) expansion. Second, The sales were 13 units more than the 794 sales pending during November.
The December closed sales performance was also 155 more than during November, a 24% increase.
Sales of condos and townhouses also jumped during December, going from 62 in November to 90 in December.
During December, homes took an average of 61 days to sell, a ten-day improvement from December 2014.
The seasonal rule is that sales decline from the previous month in December, January and February and then pick up in March.
The strength of the performance motivated a call to the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors, which released the December sales report December 11. Nothing unusual happened during December, GAAR staff said.
For December, sales were pending for 679 homes, a 4.6% increase from December 2014 and down 115 units or 14% from November. The seasonal pattern reappeared here.
The median sales price was $175,500 during December. The average sales price was $208,229. Both figures were down about $5,000 from November and dropped around one percent from December 2015.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Impressions: Three Bad. One Good.

The known impressions left on Albuquerque by the “Breaking Bad” cult television series and the successor, “Better Call Saul,” include tours of the filming sites. But there is more. A friend in New England works for a large national organization with an Albuquerque office. A colleague of my New England friend recently called someone in the Albuquerque office to inquire about the meth environment in Albuquerque. I not quite sure what that means, but it doesn’t sound like a trolley tour is being considered.
A guess is that the suspicion of a “meth environment” would deter an executive considering locating a business in Albuquerque.

Speaking of darkness, we did the Albuquerque luminaria tour. To avoid the traffic, we rode the bus. But the bus windows are tinted, thereby obscuring the view of the soft glow of the candles in the paper bags. Maybe the bus windows are tinted to make it more difficult to see how people ride the bus.

This was a map caption. The map showed employment changes by county in the United States. The caption pointed out that Harding County had the nation’s largest unemployment rate gain. Another winner for a vibrant New Mexico.

And finally, something nice. Las Cruces was a runner up in Sunset magazine’s Best Hometowns 2016 competition. The category, won by Santa Barbara, California, was Best Sustainable Community. The other categories were neighborhood, small town, medium-size town and suburb. The article is in the February issue.
Las Cruces was the only New Mexico community to place in the ratings. Never thought of Las Cruces in that way.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Professional and Business Services Leads Abq. Other Metros Drop Jobs.

The state’s three smaller metro areas lost 2,600 jobs in the year from November 2014 to November 2015, according to the Labor Market Review newsletter released December 28 by the Department of Workforce Solutions. Albuquerque added 7,200 jobs, a 1.9% gain, making for 4,600 net new wage jobs produced, year over year, by the four metros.
Across the entire state, 3,000 new jobs appeared which means that the 26 rural counties lost 1,600 jobs over the year.
These figures are not seasonally adjusted.
Lea County alone accounted for all these jobs, almost says a special Labor Market Review article. I say “almost” because the LMR article uses numbers from the second quarter for 2015. Lea’s wage job total was down 1,667 between the second quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2015. Mining, meaning oil and gas production, lost 964 jobs.
Biofuels cuts also affected Lea County such as the layoffs at Joule Unlimited.
Statewide, mining lost 2,900 jobs. The other biggest losers around the state were manufacturing (-1,100), transportation, warehousing and utilities (-1,100), and wholesale trade (-800).
The statewide winners, year-over-year, were the three sectors that have been adding decent numbers of jobs the past few months: leisure and hospitality (+3,100), the Medicaid-driven education and health services (+2,900), and professional and business services (+2,800).
In Albuquerque, professional and business services added 4,000 new jobs over the year through November 2015. That’s a seven percent increase, more, DWS said, than in the past 20 years. Skepticism seems warranted. No headlines jump out to explain this alleged boom.
The big loss in Las Cruces was in professional and businesses services (-900).