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.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Abq Homes Sale Up 19% from March 2014

More homes sold in metro Albuquerque for more money than in months and months, according to the March sales report released today by the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors.
March closed sales of 827 single family detached homes were 49%, or 273 homes, more than February (March does have three more selling days than February) and 19% more than March 2014. The March sales were the highest since the sale of 857 homes closed during August 2013.
During March the number of pending sales jumped 20% from February to 1,102 and showed a 16% increase over February 2014. February pending sales also increased 16% over the previous year. Of the 921 pending sales during February, 90% turned into closed sales during March.
Average prices increased 5.5% during March to $210,069, pushed along by the sale closing for four homes in the $1 million-plus category. Sales increased in 10 of the 12 price groups about the $100,000 threshold. Sales were the same as March at 21 homes in the $500,000 - $749,000 group and dropped one—from three to two—in the $750,000 to $999,000 group.
The median price increased $6,000, or 4%, to $175,000 during March. The $175,000 median price is the highest March median since 2010.
The absorption rate has been below 5.5 months since December, indicating a better than average market. The supply-demand ration has dropped by half to 3.33 since December, meaning a tightening of supply relative to demand.

Friday, April 3, 2015

State Job Improvement Continues

The statistically re-benchmarked performance of the New Mexico economy continues, according to the new Labor Market Review newsletter released today, April 3, by the Department of Workforce Solutions.
The best news is in Albuquerque and Farmington. For the year between February 2014 and February 2015, 15,900 new wage jobs appeared on a seasonally unadjusted basis. The number of wage jobs increased 10,400 between January and February.
Albuquerque led the metro pack with 6,700 jobs, year over year. That was a net of 7,100 private sector jobs and a loss 400 government jobs with state government gains of 400 offsetting local government losing 700 jobs.
Farmington was the other big metro winner with 2,800 new wage jobs over the year, 2,500 of them in the private sectors.
Santa Fe didn’t badly with 1,100 new jobs even with the loss of 400 construction jobs.
Nothing much happened in Las Cruces during the year. The metro lost 200 jobs, split between the private guys and government.
Statewide and in Albuquerque the sectors with the biggest job growth were professional and business services, education and health services and leisure and hospitality. In Albuquerque, the three sectors added 6,100 jobs, year over year. Statewide the three added 10,400 jobs.
All these figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Job Growth “Statistically Significant”

Those 10,200 new jobs mentioned yesterday as appearing between January 2014 and January 2015 were not seasonally adjusted. I forgot to mention that. I also forgot to say that between December and January, the seasonally unadjusted figures show a loss of 16,500 jobs. That’s a lot. Not explanation from DWS.
In its release yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics listed New Mexico’s 12,900 seasonally adjusted new jobs, year over year, as being statistically significant, that means the jobs are real, maybe. The seasonally adjusted change between December and January was an increase of 1,500, a shift of 18,000 from the unadjusted figure, or, quite an adjustment.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Statistical Shuffle Improves Job Picture

Everything that was said about job performance and non-performance in New Mexico was wrong. Or at least all that stuff about months and months of job losses is out of date now. That’s because the federal Bureau of Labors Statistics and New Mexico’s Department of Workforce Solutions changes the rules once each year.
DWS in its March 17 release “explained” the changes this way. “Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics realigns the sample-based estimates of the CES survey to incorporate universe counts of employment—a process known as benchmarking.”
As an example of the changes, readers may remember the year over year changes in the finance sector of well over 1,000 jobs. When this “growth” was reported each month, the report here came with skeptical note. The problem, as I see it, is that the sector is too small to support such growth without something radical happening such as a new and large employer. For sure, banks, the largest employer in finance, aren’t adding people except to do Dodd-Frank required compliance.
Guess what, guys, with the bench newly marked, as it were, the finance sector showed a gain of 300 jobs, or less than one percent, between January 2014 and January 2015.
The new numbers show professional and business services, considered a key proxy for national laboratory activity, showed 1,700 new jobs, year over year. Education and health services led the sector pack with 4,700 new jobs, or 3.7%, which was about 39% an (unlikely to me) of the year’s total job gain of 10,200 jobs.
Government dropped 1,200 jobs, 500 from the feds and 600 from local government. State government, buoyed by 1,100 new education jobs (in universities), lost just 100.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Clinton Email Logistics Are Confusing

I do not understand the logistics of the emails. Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State for approximately 1,461 days (the years 2010, 2011, 2012 plus ten months of 2009 and two months of 2013). The 31,830 private emails averaged 21.8/day, plus nearly that many for business. Call it 40 total/day. Assume Mrs. Clinton sleeps four hours/day, leaving 20 hours for everything else including emails (at an average of two emails/hour all day every day) and meetings with foreign ministers. Some of the business emails would have been complicated and would have required some thought and some time—multiple drafts and staff debate—in creating the reply. To be sure, threads with multiple emails would account for some of the total, but how many? I presume that Mrs. Clinton was not the person at the keyboard entering the reply. (Does she type?)
From my perch in the wilds of New Mexico, it appears that she had to have some help in managing this process. How did that work? What was the decision process with regard to eliminating the personal emails? Highlight all and hit delete?