Thursday, July 30, 2015

Abq Jobs Up 2.2%, SF, LC Down

Average weekly manufacturing sector wages dropped from almost $50/week from June 2014 to June 2015, the Department of Workforce Solutions reported n the Labor Market Review newsletter released Tuesday. Sector average wages were $726.68 in June 2014 and $678.12 a year later. The drop was due to lowers wages and fewer hours worked.
Not that manufacturing is a big deal in the state with about three percent of wage jobs. But it is an important part of the basic employment group, sectors that ship their products from the state and are paid with money originating from outside the state.
But even this claim is less than meets the eye. Manufacturing includes printing and publishing, nearly all of which is sold within the state.
During the year from June 2014 to June 2015, the wage job total, seasonally adjusted, grew by 10,900, a measly 1.3 percent increase, from 816,400 to 827,300.
Even this increase, though welcome, is something of a charade, at least with regards to building a solid economy and increasing the wealth of New Mexicans. That’s because about two-thirds of the increase, or 6,500 jobs, came in the education and health services sector.
I finally got around to asking a wizard friend, a labor economist, what was happening. The reply was, “Healthcare has been strong for quite some time both due to Medicaid and Affordable Healthcare Act. Also, when one looks at the (more detailed) data most of the growth is in Ambulatory Health Care Services, and Social Assistance with just marginal increases in Hospitals and Nursing and Residential Care Facilities.”
In other words, government action explains much of the increase. Not good.
Metro area performance remains mixed.
Albuquerque added 8,300 wage jobs, not seasonally adjusted, a decent enough 2.2 percent increase, from June 2014 to June 2015. But that was two-thirds of the state’s 12,700 job increase, again not seasonally adjusted.
Professional and business services led Albuquerque with 3,600 new jobs, 90 percent of the sectors increase statewide over the June to June year. Education and health care added 2,700 jobs in Albuquerque, a third of the 7,700-job increase statewide.
For Farmington, little detail is available other than the grand totals. Well, maybe not grand, but pretty good. The 1,100 new wage jobs represented 2.2 percent growth rate.
Las Cruces and Santa Fe both lost jobs during the year. Las Cruces was down 400 jobs, Santa Fe dropped 100.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Horse Show Off to OKC

On the plane June 18 from Minneapolis to Albuquerque, we happened to sit next to a woman coming to judge the Youth National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show being held in Albuquerque this week. The show is at Tingley Coliseum at Expo New Mexico, aka the state fairgrounds.
The show goes to Oklahoma City next year and will not return to Albuquerque, at least not anytime soon, our seat-mate indicated.
Tingley might best (and most politely) be called a big old barn. It is inadequate in all respects, she said, for the 800 horses (I think she said 800.)
That OKC got aggressive explains the change. We did not. She appeared to have no special affection for Albuquerque or Oklahoma City. This was business.
According to a July 16 Albuquerque Journal story, “A key factor in selecting Oklahoma City over Albuquerque was its infusion of $100 million in improvements to Oklahoma City’s State Fair Park, the venue that will host the youth Arabian show from 2016 through at least 2018, Glenn Petty, executive vice president for AHA, told the Journal in March.”
I doubt that the fairgrounds rise (or sink) to the level of the state’s deep and structural troubles. But the situation does raise the priority question. Do we care? Not so much, apparently.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jobs Up 1.6% in June

Nothing statistically significant happened to the overall New Mexico job picture between June 2104 and June 2015, nor between May 2015 and June 2015, said the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics today in its monthly jobs release. The BLS phrase actually was that the biggest bunch of states were “not appreciably different” from either June 2014 or May 2015.
The exception was our unemployment rate, “significantly different” at 6.4% for June from the 5.3% national rate.
Nonagricultural wages jobs were 825,600 in June, down 6,600 from May but up 12,600 from June 2014, a 1.6% increase.
Education and health services remained the star with a 7,700 year-over-year job gain, or 6.2%. As noted before, these increases don’t make sense. Maybe they are Medicaid. Or Obamacare? Get out your salt shaker, the one with the big grains.
Next comes the professional and business services with 4,000 presumably non-funky new wage jobs over the year, a 4% gain.
Leisure and hospitality follows with 2,900 new wage jobs from June 2014 to June 2015. A few weeks ago the tourism department releases its latest market study and claimed a very good year for tourism.
Other services lost 2,400 jobs for the year, followed by construction, down 1,400.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Home Sales Up 23% from June 2014

In June monthly sales of metro Albuquerque single family detached homes continued above the comparable month of 2014. The metro saw sales close on 924 homes during June, 23% over June 2014 and a nice 8% increase from May. The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the June sales report late Friday.
Pending sales, the harbinger of sales closing the next month, jumped 26.5% from June 2014. However, pending sales dropped 46 units from May. Pending in June 2014 were down 56 from May 2014.
The homes that closed during June spent relatively little time on the market, an average of 56 days. The inventory of homes available for sale has been below 2014 for all of 2015.
The median price for detached homes closed during June was $190,788, up 6% from May 2015 and from June 2014 and the highest since 2012.
The average price was $226,337, the highest since $230,750 in July 2014. The average
below the comparable month of 2014 during both April and May. However, for June the average price increased 6% from June 2014. June’s average was up 3.6% from May and 7% from April.
The increase in average price came without help from million dollar homes. None closed during June. There were 48 homes sold during June in the two prime groups from $500,000 to $999,000, nearly double the 25 homes in those two groups sold during 2014.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Balloon Puzzle in Minnesota

In one of the waiting rooms at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, there are several jigsaw puzzles to help people pass the waiting time. This morning a young woman was working on one depicting the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. She said attending the fiesta was on her list of life things to do, "bucket list," I think she said.
Msyo in Rochester attracts an international crowd. As one measure, burkas are popular among the women. SO the Balloon fiesta message, however it got there, hits an international audience.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Violence in NM

We are number nine, says Marketwatch.com. Alaska is no. 1 with 2013 firearm death rate of 19.6 per 100,000.The report was done by http://247wallst.com, which produces lots of lists.

"New Mexico
"2013 firearm death rate: 15.4 per 100,000
"Total firearm deaths 2004-2013: 2,983 (19th lowest)
"Violent crime rate: 613.0 (2nd highest)
"Permit required to buy handgun: No
"Like most states across the country, the largest proportion of gun-related deaths in New Mexico was attributable to suicide. The age-adjusted firearm suicide rate of 10.3 per 100,000 was the ninth highest rate in the country. New Mexico also had the highest death rate by legal intervention — deaths caused by police or other law-enforcement officials — in the country. In general, New Mexico residents were exposed to a large number of crimes. The state reported 613 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, the second highest rate in the country. Low education levels and widespread poverty may partly explain the high gun violence and deaths. Nearly 22% of New Mexico’s population lived in poverty, substantially higher than the national poverty rate of 15.8%. Additionally, only 84.3% of adults had at least a high school diploma, the sixth lowest rate in the country."

Oklahoma is 8th. The other three four-corners stated don't make the top ten.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Political Correctness at the Folk Art Museum

A couple of minor bones to pick with “The Red That Colored The World,” the excellent current exhibition, through September 6, at the Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe. The red in this case came from the cochineal, a small bug that “lives, breeds and feeds on the pad of prickly pear cactus.” The cochineal was grown in some sort of organized manner and harvested well before the Spanish came. Dried and crushed, it is used in painting and to color cloth. Bone one is with the slight information provided about how the Indians grew the bug. After all, they were in a very low tech environment.
Bones two and three go to political correctness.
A change in the area where the cochineal is found is mentioned and called probably due to climate change (it might have been “possibly). Well, maybe, or maybe not. No proof is offered. Just the gratuitous assertion.
Then a garment of Kit Carson’s is one of the objects in the exhibition. Carson is called “controversial.” The designation, while accurate, I think, has nothing to do with the validity of the Carson object appearing. Nor is it explained. Again, just a gratuitous assertion, a way of slipping in the claim that Carson was a bad guy. It should have been omitted.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Metro Job Picture Mixed for May

The Farmington recovery rolled on during May with 1,500 new wage jobs from May 2014 to May 2015, a 2.9% increase, according to the details of May job growth released yesterday by the Economic Research and Analysis Bureau of the Department of Workforce Solutions. Metro Albuquerque claimed a decent year-over-year performance as well with a 5,100 job, or 1.3% increase.
The metro job picture remained decidedly mixed with year-over-year losses of 600 jobs, 0.8%, in Las Cruces and, in Santa Fe, a drop of 800 jobs, 1.3%.
Farmington and Albuquerque provided 6,600 of the 8,200 new wage jobs statewide during the period, 1% growth.
In Albuquerque, as with the state, the growth came in professional and business services, +2,300; education and heath services, +1,800; and leisure and hospitality, +1,900. Government in Albuquerque, dropped 100 jobs during the May-to-May year. Albuquerque’s professional and business services sector has report year-over-year gains of more than 2,000 jobs for four months.
The Las Cruces losses were in leisure and hospitality, -300; professional and business services, -500; and manufacturing, down 200.
Construction in Santa Fe lost 500 jobs with another 300 gone in leisure and hospitality.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Less Than Meets the Eye to Job Growth

Those nice 1.5% year-over-year wage job increases are gone, One hopes it is only for the monthly moment. That’s because the sectors growing the fastest bring less to the basic economy that is presumed.
The job growth in May was one percent over May 2014 with 8,200 new jobs statewide, a drop from 1.5% the past couple of months.
The other worrisome point in this corner is that the fastest growing job sector is education and health services. The two sectors are home to what you would expect. Education includes private schools, trade school and automobile driving schools. Health services is doctors, hospitals and child care.
Education and health services produced 5,000 new jobs, year over year, 61% of those 8,200 jobs statewide.
Leisure and hospital, home to much of our tourism, added 1,900 jobs from May 2014 to May 2015. The sector also included the restaurants serving a local customer base, and, therefore depending on other basic industries. The sector brings less than meets the eye to consideration of true economic health.
As does the professional and business services sector which, yes, has the consulting engineers but also has lawyers. The sector’s 1,300 new jobs, year over year, did nudge the job total back past 100,000.
Manufacturing lost 100 jobs over the year while mining showed no change. These two sectors, though small, are the core of the wealth producing economy.
In rural news, the Mora County unemployment rate dropped to 9%, or 190 people, leaving Luna County the only county with unemployment over 10%. Luna’s unemployment rate is 18.1%, or 1,873 people.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Abq Homes Sales Continue to Increase

Closed sales of single family detached homes in metro Albuquerque hit 903 units in May, up 13% over May 2014 and an increase of 68%, or 366 units from the winter low in January of 537 closed sales. But it’s hardly been a steady path. The performance for sales closed was the highest since 939 sales closed in July 2013.
The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors released the May sales report today. The monthly increases in sales closed during 2015 are: Jan-Feb 17; Feb-March 273; March-April 17; April-May 59.
Pending sales activity suggests further increases in closings. During May pending sales were 1,234 homes, up 54, or five percent from April. Those May pending sales represented a 24% increase from May 2014.
During May an average of 29.1 homes sold each day, an increase of one from April. The homes sold in an average of 62 days, the quickest sales of 2015 and the quickest since July 2014 when the average sales period of 62 days.
All this activity did not bring higher prices to sellers, as compared to 2014. From April, though, prices increased. The average sales price, $218,228, dropped around $5,000 from May 2014, a 2.2% decline. The average price was up $4,200 or four percent from April. The median price, $181,000 increased all of $1,000 from May 2014. The increase was $4,200 or two percent from April. Closing of the sale of three $1 million (plus) homes during May helped the average price.
May provided the highest median price since 2009, and, except for drop from May of 2014, the highest average price since 2009.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Second in Long Term Unemployed

Economic recovery in New Mexico, such as it is, is uneven, according to figures released yesterday from the Department of Workforce Solutions.
Farmington (+2,200 wage jobs, +4.3%) and Albuquerque (+7,000 jobs, +1.9%) were the winners in the year from April 2014 to April 2015. Santa Fe lost 200 jobs, or -0.7%, for year. Las Cruces was down 200, or -0.3%. The jobs figures are not seasonally adjusted.
As reported previously, the state added 12,600 jobs, year over year. Albuquerque and Farmington accounted for 73% of the new jobs.
Albuquerque’s leading employment sectors were leisure and hospitality and professional and business services, both with 2,000 new jobs. Education and health services followed with 1,700 new jobs. Government added 800 new Albuquerque jobs, split among federal, 100; state, 400; and local 300.
Of the Farmington jobs, 1,900 were in the private sector. DWS does not provide additional Farmington detail.
Education and health services added the most jobs in Las Cruces (+500) and Santa Fe (+300).
In the new issue of its Labor Market Review newsletter, DWS provided a commendable look at the state’s long-term unemployed. The term refers to those unemployed people without a job for 27 weeks or more. We were second nationally with 44.9% long term unemployed in 2014, after only Washington, D.C.
To be counted as unemployed, one must be seeking a job. The long term unemployed figure leaves out those who have dropped from the labor force. We are in the bottom five (or so) in labor force participation.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

1.5% Job Growth Continues

During April, the New Mexico economy stuck with the 1.5% year-over-year wage job growth rate that appeared in March. April brought 12,600 new jobs over April 2014.
The curious part is that 37%, or 4,900, of the new jobs are in the education and health services sector. The Department of Workforce Solutions did not explain this situation in today’s news release. But this sector depends on others for its business, so something unusual is happening. Medicaid?
Growth came to sectors that are part of the base economy grew including Leisure and hospitality, 2,700; Professional and business services, 1,900; information, 300; manufacturing, 200; and mining, 300. The latter sector’s growth is the slowest since April 2010, the DWS release said, reflecting the slowing in oil deveopment.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Highway Money Short; Cutting Spending Not Considered

The April 30 Albuquerque Journal Up Front column was an interesting exercise for who responded and what was said and not said. The Journal's editorial page editor Dan Herrera asked civic leaders (by his definition) "to name something Albuquerque does right." No respondent represented a business. Only one mentioned anything close to earning a living. That was the small construction firms comment from the Abq Academy headmaster who gets lots of tuition money from private sector people and Labs types doing science. Science wasn’t mentioned. The first item listed was the Sandia Mountains, that by Cathy Winograd.

So we are aesthetic without worries about economics.

May 1 saw the Journal run a long story by Olivier Uyttebrouck looking at paying for New Mexico's highways. The story mentioned the right things, so far as it went. It said the amount of money is flat, a big piece is used to repay borrowing and one of the pressures comes from more efficient autos using less gas.

Toll roads, which might be a source of money, were not mentioned. More important was the continued (continued by everyone who seems to consider the highway finance issue) ignoring of considering how we spend our money and can we spend less. Not to belabor the obvious—not much—but any organization that lacks income need to consider spending less.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Job Growth is 1.6% in March

New Mexico seems to have settled in on a year-over-year wage job growth rate of 1.5% plus. For the March 2014 to March 2015 year, it was 1.6%, or 13,000 jobs statewide, according to figures released today by the Department of Workforce Services and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
By percentage, business and professional led the growth at 3.8% (3,700 jobs), followed by leisure and hospitality, 3.6% (3,200 jobs), and education and health services, 3.5% (4,400 jobs).
Growth is slower in the oil counties of Lea and Eddy, but the job growth continues.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The New Hampshire Presidential Campaign

New Hampshire correspondent Kathy Morgan has called attention a continuing feature at WMUR TV in Manchester, New Hampshire. The feature is a series of conversations with actual and potential presidential candidates. A few days ago it was Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The format is a half hour in two segments, one an interview by the anchor, the other questions from the audience. A “web feature” follows. Go to http://www.wmur.com/politics.
There is enough time and the format is sufficiently relaxed to get acquainted with the individual.
Also, one finds the newspaper, the Manchester Union Leader, at http://www.unionleader.com.
It seems that for the 2016 race, technology will bring us in the fly-over hinterland a chance to make a more intelligent choice.
If you see a worthy candidate on WMUR,options for active support would seem to be sending money and/or calling the respective New Mexico party headquarters to find the NM contact.
Our correspondent is ably assisted by Christopher Phelps Johnson, age five months, one day, as of this writing.