Saturday, October 26, 2019

Luna County Unemployment Rate Now Under 10%

New Mexico’s employment to population rate increased 1.1 points to 56% during the year from September 2018 to September 2019, according to figures released yesterday in the Labor Market Review, the newsletter of the Department of Workforce Solutions. The ration for the nation was 61%.
Wage jobs increased 2.4% statewide during the year.
It was a good month for the rural counties, less so for the metro areas. Among the counties, Luna continued to lead the unemployment with 8.1%, down a tenth of a point from September 2018 and down from 8.7% in August. Luna having less then ten percent unemployment offers one marker of increasing economic health in New Mexico.
Los Alamos County kept it traditional lowest unemployment rate with 2.9%. Oil booming Eddy County and small population Union are right behind at 3%. Metro job growth, in descending order, was Albuquerque 1%, Santa Fe 0.8%, Las Cruces and Farmington, both 0.4%.
Leisure and hospitality led Albuquerque’s growth with 3,100 new wage jobs, a 7% increase. Professional and business services grew 3.9% with 2,400 new jobs. Santa Fe’s growth was in “other services,” whatever that is, up 300 jobs and 9%. Leisure and hospitality both added 400 jobs, but the percentage was lower because the sectors are larger. Las Cruces added 600 jobs in education and health services, 3.8% growth for the year.
The Labor Market Review reviewed the demographics of people aged 16 to 24 or 18 to 24, depending on the category. Just 62.5% of the 18 to 24 group were born in the state, which certainly give the lie to the oft-heard claim that superior wisdom come with having one’s family be in the state for a bazillion generations. This claim leaves out the other 37.5%, most of whom (28.7% of the total) were born in some other United States state. The foreign born were 7.9%.
For some presumably recent year (DWS didn’t specify), 12.6% of New Mexicans were aged 16 to 24. That’s 262,078 people

Friday, October 18, 2019

State Job Growth Is 2.2% in September

uring September unemployment rates were stable in 39 states, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Non-farm wage jobs were “essentially unchanged” in 45 states. New Mexico was one of the states with “statistically significant” changes in seasonally adjusted wage job totals for the year from September 2018 to September 2019, the BLS said. Our 18,800 net new jobs were a 2.2% gain. Nice!
The state Department of Workforce Solutions also release job totals today.
New Mexico’s 4.9% unemployment rate in September ties Arizona for fourth place nationally. Alaska leads with Mississippi and the District of Columbia tied for second at 5.4% unemployed. The state's unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, hasn’t changed in three months and was 4.9% a year ago.
Construction and mining were the state’s sector performance leaders for the September to September year. Construction saw 10% growth with 4,700 new jobs. Mining, which is pretty much oil and gas, added 2,000 jobs for an 8.1% increase. Leisure and hospitality (the proxy for tourism) followed with 7,200 new jobs and 7.3% growth.
The other gainers were professional and business services, up 2,400 jobs and 2.2%, and health care and social assistance, up 2,200 and 1.8%.
Government grew over the year, led by local government (excluding education), up 2,200 jobs and 4.4%. State government (excluding education) added 1,000 jobs for 3.2% growth as the administration continued to fill those authorized but vacant positions. The feds grew by 1,000 jobs and 3.5%.
Eddy and Lea counties continued their oil-driven jobs with increases, respectively of 3,300 jobs (to 33,895) and 2,000 jobs to 32,153.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Eddy, Lea Boom. Metros Areas Don't

The one thing sure for me about New Mexico’s 2019 wage job growth is that it isn’t happening in the four metro areas. That should be intuitively obvious given that the oil-boom counties are in the southeast corner, a long way from the nearest metro, Las Cruces. Still the difference is striking.
The state added 15,500 wage jobs between August 2018 and August 2019. The Department of Workforce Solutions and the Bureau of Labor Statistics released that number a week ago. The details came in the DWS Labor Market Review newsletter, released Friday September 27.
By my count the four metros—Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Farmington—added 3,000 jobs. That’s about 20% of the new jobs to the four areas with well over half the population. The metro breakout is: Albuquerque is up 2,400 jobs, August to August. Las Cruces has added 500, with 400 more in Farmington and 300 fewer in Santa Fe.
By heavy contrast Eddy and Lea counties added 5,318 jobs with 3,216 jobs in Eddy and 2102 in Lea. The two counties scored 34% of the August to August job growth.
This growth shows in the average private sector weekly wage by county. Los Alamos leads $1,572. Eddy has $1,214 with $1,115 in Lea. With $901, Bernalillo is in fourth place. Catron county is 33rd with $391. Though Los Alamos National Laboratory is technically private sector, those LANL wages come from the feds.
In metro Albuquerque, leisure and hospitality lead sector growth by percent (+1,800, 4%). Education and health services added 2,100 jobs (+3.3%) Professional and business services added 2,100 jobs (+3.4%)
In last week’s entry I claimed metro Albuquerque was up 11,000 jobs for the year. Wrong. My apologies.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Jobs Grow for August. Some Confusion seen.

New Mexico’s unemployment rate, on a seasonally adjusted basis, nudged up a tenth of a point in August as compared to August 2018. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the producer of the numbers, did not consider the change significant. The 4.9% unemployment rate ranks fifth among the states, just behind Arizona’s 5%.
The August employment numbers were released this afternoon by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.
The change in New Mexico’s employment—a 17,500 seasonally adjusted increase to 860,700 in August—is significant, however. This is a 2.1% bump.
Construction was up 4,300 wage jobs, not seasonally adjusted, for the year, a 9% increase, The BLS report.
Switching to unadjusted wage job numbers, the total grew 15,500 jobs, 1.8% growth. Not bad, but not joyous.
Leisure and hospitality (mostly tourism) led the grow of major sectors with 4,000 more jobs, or 4%. Construction followed with 3,300 jobs. Then it was professional and business services, plus 2,000; mining, plus 1,900; health care and social assistance, plus 1,800, and financial activities, up 1,200.
A cursory county review provides some confusion. Metro Albuquerque is up 11,000 jobs over the year. Eddy has added 3,200 with 2,100 more in Lea. That’s 16,300, more than the state’s 15,500 jobs. Yet all the other counties seemed to grow. Clearly a more detailed look is needed.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Metro Job Growth Lags State

Arizona ties with New Mexico’s 4.9% unemployment rate the highest in the nine-state southwest quadrant of the country. New Mexico and Arizona place fourth among the states for unemployment rates, behind Alaska, Washington, D.C., and Mississippi. New Mexico’s 2.6% growth in jobs from July 208 to July 2019 (that’s 21,700 new jobs) lies in the middle of the nine-state pack. These numbers come from the July issue of the Labor Market Review newsletter that was released today by the Department of Workforce Solutions.
Metro area job growth continues behind the state’s rate. Albuquerque added 5,000 jobs (a nice number, for sure) over the year, but only a 1.3% gain. The growth was in leisure and hospitality (+2,900 jobs or 6.4%), education and health services (+3,200 jobs or 5%), and professional and business services (+2,800 jobs, or 4.6%). Except for other services (+100 jobs, big deal) every other sector lost jobs.
Las Cruces added 700 jobs, year-over-year, a one percent gain. The Santa Fe growth was 0.3% which meant 200 jobs. Leisure and hospital brought 600 jobs.
The newsletter offered a comprehensive at oil and gas in the state. The article is far too long to even summarize here, but it is worth a look. See The general topics are wages, employment, and production.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Home sales flat; Inventory Down; Prices Up

The pace of closed sales for single family detached homes in metro Albuquerque picked up bit in July with a 59 unit, or 5.2%, increase from July 2018. Closed sales were 1,186 homes during July. Sales had dropped 5.4%, or 64 homes, from June 2018.
The net result is that total sales closed through seven months of 2019 are 7,027 homes, all of 1.7% ahead of 2018.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the July sales figures today.
The inventory of homes offered for sale in the metro continued down, way down. The July drop was 33.6% from July 2018. The July inventory as 2,379 homes. People hover over their computers are try to grad homes before they officially hit the market.
The result is that homes sell quickly. The average sales period was 33 days during July, down one day from June and four days faster that July 2018.
With supply limited, demand about the same, the other expected event is happening; prices are going up.
For seven months of 2019, the median price was 220,000, a 7.3%, $205,000, jump from 2018. The median prices for the month of July was $232,000 a $22,000, or 10.5% hike from July 2018. The average price for July was $264,682, a 6.3% or $14,500 increase over the year.
There were 1,373 sales pending during July, a 27.4% jump over July 2018. Pending sales for the year are 8,089, a 6.5% increase over seven months of 2018.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Government, Military Account for 21.7% of NM Economy

With wage jobs up 1.8% or 15,200 for the June 2018 to June 2019 year, the gains appear to have been in the 26 rural counties. That’s because the four metro areas all added jobs at a rate of less than 1.8%. Ta Da.
The numbers are in the Labor Market Review, the newsletter of the Department of Workforce Solutions, which was released this afternoon.
Santa Fe even lost jobs over the year, down 800, half in the private sector, half public. The leading loser was education and health services, down 700.
Albuquerque added 4,900 jobs, a 1.2% increase. The gainers were education and health services, plus 3,200 jobs, or 5%; leisure and hospitality, plus 2,400 jobs, or 5.4%; and professional and business services, plus 2,100 jobs, or 3.4%.
Education and health services, up 600 jobs or 3.8%, was the only sector with much growth in Las Cruces, plus 800 jobs, or 1.1%.
Farmington added 100 jobs, a 1.1% increase.
The newsletter passed along the state gross domestic figures released recently by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. “GDP measures the value of the goods and services
produced in an area, less the value of the goods and services used up in production,” DWS said. New Mexico’s GDP was up 1.8% in 2018, less than half the growth of Utah (4.3%) and Arizona (4%) and well behind Colorado (3.5%) and Texas (3.2%).
Government and the military account for 21.7% of New Mexico’s 2018 GDP with finance, insurance and real estate at 15%, mining and oil and gas extraction at 13.7%, and professional and business services at 10.6%.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Abq Mayor Gets Developer's Applause

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller brought his enthusiastic self today to NAIOP, the commercial real estate developers group meeting at the Uptown Marriott. If spontaneous applause is the measure, he scored some points.
He started with the New Mexico United professional soccer team, citing the team’s support as “a tremendous example of how we can be united.” Keller related the problems in getting the team situated. His orientation was ‘getting it done” rather than worrying about the difficulties. His showed a photo of the Civic Plaza watch parties which have struck as a great example of a creative and obvious use of the forlorn plaza.
There are a lot of ideas out there, he said, let’s just pick one. “Quit selling ourselves short.”
Crime was topic two. “For the first time in a decade, all our crime stats are down,” he said. Of course, he also said, crime remains high.
There is a new multi-agency involvement in crime. “We have got to take responsibility for what we as individuals can do.” Not sure what that means in the crime context, but it sounds good.
In economic development, Keller, like the governor, has doubled down on movies. He cited some great statistics—2,200 jobs from recent announcements—but of course didn’t mention that movie jobs are project work, three months here, six months there. A new movie real estate infrastructure is developing from people renting to movie production personnel. The rental rates are great, owners tell me, and more than offset the vacant periods.
Then there are the homeless who are “not going away without major investment by our city, Keller said. He plans to put $14 million in the fall bond package for a homeless shelter. NO mention of the ACLU recently blowing away the city’s attempt at regulating panhandling from road medians.
Keller closed on an up note, city the recent national senior games as a united (there’s that word again) effort that was hugely successful—20,000 people in town spending money and 8,000 volunteers.
He referred a number of times to the “One Albuquerque” umbrella program. If you can get past the progressive gobbledygook at the website ( probably is worthy.
The fall bond measures got a big pitch at the end. The ART project mention was an inverse to the bonds

Friday, July 19, 2019

Unemployment Rate Hngs Around 4.9%

New Mexico’s unemployment rate has hung around 4.9% during the past year. It was 4.9% in June, 5% in May and 4.8% in June 2018. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the state added 14,400 jobs, a (nice for New Mexico) 1.7% increase that the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics considers statistically significant. Arizona wage jobs grew 2.8% during the June to June year; Utah, 2.7%; and Colorado 1.9%.
While I’m not quite sure of the arithmetic, that seems to mean that of the 25,000 added to the labor force over the year, 23,000 found employment (which is different from a wage job) because total unemployment went up 2,000.
Leisure and hospital led the sector growth, up 5,300 jobs or 5.3%, not seasonally adjusted. Construction added 3,000 jobs, a 6.3% increase.
Mining grew by 2,000, up 8%. Employment in Eddy County, with Lea the heart of oil production, grew by 2,700 to total 33,153 in June. Lea County added 800 jobs for employment of 29,440.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released the June job summary this afternoon. DWS will provide more details in a week.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Metro Unemployment Rates Up For May

The edge comes a little off New Mexico’s wage job happiness with new that three of our four metro areas showed an unemployment rate for May 2019 above the rate for May 2018. The state’s rate was 5% for May, the same as April. The metro unemployment rates, seasonally unadjusted, are:
Albuquerque: 4.3% from 4.1%;
Las Cruces: 5.3% from 5.1%;
Santa Fe 3.8% from 3.7%.
Farmington’s unemployment dropped a tenth of a point from 5% to 4.9%.
The numbers are from the Labor Market Review newsletter of the Department of Workforce Solutions, which was released today.
The four-county metro Albuquerque added 5,100 wage jobs with the gains in professional and business services (+2,900); education and health services (+2,500); and leisure and hospitality (+2,100).
Las Cruces added 1,100 jobs over the year with the biggest gain in education services, up 600.
The ups and downs of the various sectors added to no change for Santa Fe, year over year. Farmington added 300 jobs.
Catron County has the lowest average weekly wage $453, followed, so to speak, by San Miguel County (Santa Rosa) at $496, followed and McKinley at $541. The highest wage is in Los Alamos with $1,685. The Eddy County wage is $1,226 with Lea at $1,133.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Job Growth Continues, State Adds 15,900 Jobs for May

New Mexico added 15,900 wage jobs between May 2018 and May 2019. This is a healthy (for New Mexico) 1.9% gain. The unemployment rate was 5% (47,627 people), seasonally adjusted, and 4.5%, seasonally adjusted.
The job gain was considered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be large enough to be statistically significant.
Mining and logging (a sector that is nearly all mining) added 2,800 jobs, a 11.5% increase that brought sector employment to 27,100 jobs. The oil boom is showing is Eddy and Lea county employment. Eddy is up 2,300 jobs (to 32,419) over the year with Lea up 1,800 to 30,060.
The leading sectors for job production over the twelve months were professional and business services, 3,700 (3.5% increase); education and health services, 3,600 (2.6%); and leisure and hospitality, 3,500 jobs (3.5%)
Most of the education and health services growth came in health care and social assistance, which added 3,100 jobs.
Government added 600 jobs for year with federal and local increases offset by state government education (universities) dropping 1,200 jobs as summer break began.
The Department of Workforce Solutions released job summary numbers this afternoon.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Ben Ray Lujan Cop Out of Dad's Political Legacy

The copy below is part of an email from Rep. Ben Ray Lujan. The email came April 3, a couple of days after Lujan announced his candidacy for the United States Senate. Look carefully at what Lujan says about his dad. “My dad was a union ironworker.” That’s all. No mention that papa Ben was speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives for 11 years.
Lujan appears to wear the cop-out hat well. On August 13, 2015, in an interview of Lujan about the 2015 Gold King mine spill, KOB TVs Chris Ramirez said to Lujan, “There a lot of people looking to you to make sure you are the policing agent on the EPA.”
Lujan’s non-response: “Well, there has to be full accountability with the EPA on this.”
The KOB quote comes from the August 21, 2015, column I wrote about the interview. The email was sent by It said,
“Activist -
“I wanted you to hear this directly from me:

“I’m officially running to be New Mexico’s next Democratic U.S. Senator.

“I’m asking you to add your name in the first days of my campaign if you support my fight to WIN this seat and WIN a Democratic Senate. >>

“I’m so proud of my New Mexico roots. My mom retired after 33 years with the local public school district. My dad was a union ironworker. I was raised on the small farm that I still call home.”

“ is the original online community of progressive activists, with over 3 million supporters. We fight for jobs, justice, healthcare, education, the environment, and peace. We're supported by great progressive partners so we never ask for donations. Please join us at!”

Paid for by People for Ben

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Abq Homes Sales Pattern Continues

The pattern of past months continued during February for the metro Albuquerque residential real estate market. The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the February sales report on Monday, March 11.
The pattern: Closed and pending sales up. Prices up. Inventory of homes offered for sale, down. Or, demand up, supply down, prices up.
The number of home sales closed during the month continued to increase on a month over month basis from 2018. There were 747 sales closed during February, a 7% increase from February 2018. The exception here is that sales dropped 7.5% during December 2018. But that was the first month over month drop since June 2018.
Pending sales continued up. February’s pending sales were 1,074, a 10% hike from February 2018 and 157 more than during January, which was up 1.7% from January 2018.
Inventory, as noted, went the other way. February saw 2,090 homes offered for sale, a big 690 unit, or 24.8%, drop from 2,780 in February 2018 and down 30% from 2,977 in February 2017.
The median sales price, $203,500, increased 4.4% from $195,000 in February 2018 and was up $1,255 from January.
The average sales price increased 7.1% from February 2018 to $242,062. The average sales price did drop from $250,777 in January and $247,759 in January. October 2018 was the only month over month average price drop during the past year.
Homes did sell a bit more quickly in February than during February 2018. The difference was just a day—55 days versus 56 days. Home required an average of 50 days to sell during January and 52 days during December. Both figures were faster than the year before.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Tribal Economic Development Documents

For economic development documents cited the the February 2019 column about Native American stories, see:
National Congress of American Indians, 2013, “Securing our Futures”, page 8.
32 Growing Economies in Indian Country: Taking Stock of Progress and Partnerships. A Summary of Challenges, Recommendations, and Promising Efforts. Published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, April 2012.
33 National Congress of American Indians, 2017, “Empowering Tribal Economic Development: Indian Country’s Policy Recommendations for the Federal Government”.
These documents appear as footnotes in The Economic Impact of the 19 Indian Pueblos in New Mexico. January 2019.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Albuquerque Adds 10,300 jobs; Revisions Coming

The December issue of the New Mexico’s Department of Workforce Solutions Labor Market Review newsletter slipped into the email inbox late this afternoon. The Review bring detail to the happy numbers released last week. Those numbers—2.4%, 19,900 person, seasonally adjusted employment growth for the year between December 2017 and December 2018—will disappear in early March with the release of annually revised figures in early March.
For now, however, Albuquerque can revel in year-over-year wage employment being up 10,300 wages, or 2.6%. The other three metro areas can gather some warm fuzzies with the knowledge, however short term, of a few new age jobs each during 2018.
For Las Cruces it was 300 jobs, or 0.4%. Santa Fe: 400 jobs, 0.6%. Farmington: 300 jobs, 0.6%.
Professional and business services led Albuquerque’s growth with 3,900 jobs during 2018, a 6.4% increase. Leisure and hospitality followed with 1,900 jobs, a 4.5% increase.
Government added 2,400 jobs over the year, a 2.9% increase that included 1,700 State government jobs. State government showed no change in employment during December.
Construction continued to grow, adding 1,000 jobs, or 4.3%. Education and health services generated 700 new jobs. Manufacturing added 200.