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).

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Business "Climate"

A friend from New England works for a large national organization that has a branch in Albuquerque. Recently a New England colleague of my friend called an Albuquerque colleague and inquire about the meth atmosphere in Albuquerque. This environment was all too well portrayed in the "Breaking Bad" television series. While one can't complain about the Albuquerque businesses offering tours of the sites seen in "Breaking Bad" and in the "Better Call Saul" series, this overlay (underlay?) on the Duke City's reputation could be one of those other-things-equal decision points that would drive a business or an individual to locate elsewhere.

Friday, December 18, 2015

NM Continues as Unemployment Rate Leader

A statistically significant seasonally adjusted job gain of 3,900 happened in New Mexico Between October and November. But it was little enough to keep us at the bottom (or top) of the unemployment rate rankings with 6.8% unemployed, up from 6.1% in November 2014, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released this morning.
The 6.8% unemployment rate was unchanged from October (and, indeed, unchanged from September. We now have the nation’s highest unemployment rate, up (or down) one place from October. We continue, therefore, with the nation’s worst economy.
New Mexicans are dropping from the labor force. Some of those not working have gone back to not bothering looking for work. The labor force dropped 2,100 from 916,600 in November 2014 to 914,700 last month, a drop of two tenths of one percent (0.02%). The more serious deterioration has been since September when the labor force was 923,500. The two-month seasonally adjusted decline is 8,800 people, or 0.95%, more than four times the year-over-year rate.
Meanwhile 6,100 more people have become unemployed year-over-year.
Unemployment has been steady at around 62,000 the past three months with the unemployment rate at 6.8%. That means the unemployment rate increase between November 2014 and November 2015 have come because of the drop in the labor force, because of people giving up this work thing.
“Employment” is defined as the labor force count minus unemployment. Employment dropped 8,000, or 0.93%, year over year.
Wage employment, the “other” set of job numbers, puts us in a bit better light. Between November 2014 and November 2015, seasonally adjusted wage employment increased 3,000 or a whopping 0.36% (a bit more than three tenths of one percent).
Separate surveys produce the separate numbers.
The Department of Workforce Solutions reported the unemployment rate in its release in mid-afternoon. DWS ignored our national unemployment rate standing. Gee.
The seasonally unadjusted sector wage job growth leaders between November 2014 and November 2015 were leisure and hospitality, up 3,100 jobs, or 3.5%, education and health services, up 2,900 jobs, or 2.2%, and professional and business services, up 2,800 jobs, or 2.8%.
Mining, meaning oil and gas, was down 2,900 jobs. Manufacturing and transportation both lost 1,100 jobs over the year.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Fundamental Issues Confronting New Mexico Today

Revised 2015. Prepared for discussion by Harold Morgan, syndicated columnist

In this week's newspaper column I promised to post the revised list of what I consider fundamental issues facing New Mexico. These issues provide the basis for much of what appears in the column each week. While the list is incomplete, it provides a broad framework of deep, structural matters needing attention. How to take discussion of these issues to the rest of state is the problem. I'm working on an idea, a series of conferences, which of course would cost money. If you have any thoughts on the issues list and/or on how to bring the issues to a wider audience, email to - Harold

Some major institutional issues (including the usual suspects, such as water, agriculture and energy) are listed alphabetically:
• A majority of Hispanics tracing their heritage to Mexico. Cultural differences with traditional northern Hispanics.
• A state economy crossing multiple sectors and therefore not usefully measured. Generally we do science (labs to Intel) and work deriving from the land and culture (tourism, agriculture, literature, the Museum of New Mexico). Pure national defense (Holloman, Cannon) is a separate, smaller sector.
Economic activity should be identified to include everything associated with the business. Mines and smelters should go together. Aggregating everything involved with agriculture might take the sector from two percent of the economy to nine percent.
Comprehensive arts sector study released in 2014 indicates measurement approach as does the 2015 Borderplex Strategic Plan.
• Broadband (transportation of information).
• Environmentalist politics.
• Financial institution capability and role of community banks. Dodd-Frank regulations increase costs and constrain lending, more so in smaller communities.
• “Government dependence.” “Too much,” it is always alleged. In New Mexico federal activities are appropriate—border administration, land management, Indian affairs (see Native American, below). Research, itself widely varied. Military. Culture creates process orientation.
• Labor force participation. Low for decades.
• Land use and ownership. The private sector is the biggest owner of land in the state with 44 percent. Surprise! The feds own about a third of the state—34.3 percent—with the state at 12 percent and tribes with 9.4 percent. Private land ownership ranges from 6 percent in San Juan County to 93 percent in Curry County. These are old numbers and may have changed a little.
• Native American. Tribes, comprising almost ten percent of New Mexicans, are said to consider themselves ignored, not “at the table.” The Traditional Cultural Property dispute, fundamentally about theology and bureaucracy, has a major land use component. (See PERC Reports, Summer / Fall 2012, or Custodial “trust” relationship with federal government inhibits reservation economic activity.
• New Mexico as the nation’s number two majority-minority state.
• Non-farm proprietorships (commonly without employees).
• Northern counties as “rural ghetto.”
• Population change driven by new babies. Adults provide the smaller portion of our population growth. But adults are the ones who pay taxes. Babies consume taxes. Increasing movement to other states. Population decline in 2014.
• Technology transfer: Being in the national defense business with an emphasis on nuclear limits development of an entrepreneurial culture. Some technology heads to the private sector. Los Alamos National Laboratory has recently restructured its approach. Recent awards for technologies involving contaminant removal, filtering water, open software wireless well monitoring and recycling Strontium-82 generated enthusiastic news releases and headlines.
• New Mexico’s Constitution.
• Transportation – highways, that is. Nine figure gap between desired construction and maintenance and money available.
• Underground or shadow economy. The only available estimates says 9.3% of New Mexico’s gross state product operates “off the books.” Aspects: cash only, no regular healthcare, no use of banks, inability to grow businesses. See non-farm proprietorships.
• Uneducated young people. That our kids can’t read is bad enough. History courses appear to be process. Knowing the facts—who won the particular war—is necessary before the processes. A high school catalogue calls New Mexico history a semester-long survey “with an emphasis on the 20th century to the present.” The 17th, 18th and 19th centuries don’t count much.
The economics course cites “government agencies” as the first player in the “allocation of scarce resources and the economic reasoning.” People are mentioned but not markets.
• Communication: Perhaps the biggest challenge. New Mexico is a big state with 77.9 million acres, or 121,335 square miles. Just over half of us live in the north central Rio Grande Valley from Belen to Velarde. The rest of us live everywhere else.
Events in one corner of the state fail to penetrate the other corner. The private sector might step up here.

Colorado Column 2014, No. 1

In my newspaper column that will appear in nine community newspapers around the state this week, I wrote about New Mexico's (non) rankings among the 50 state on 109 factors listed in the new edition of “Toward a More Competitive Colorado.” I promised to post for comparison the columns about the 2014 edition of the publication. The first column follows. The second column is the next post. - Harold Morgan


Colorado Comparison Part One: Things Can Change

By Harold Morgan

If Colorado’s leaders are smarter than those in New Mexico, something I don’t believe, they can’t be that (BF? Ital?) much smarter. After all, to determine our performance in a host of categories, we can freeload off Colorado and save work and money. The reference here is to the just released 10th edition of “Toward a More Competitive Colorado,” a comprehensive look at nine general categories, each with up to a dozen components. To find the report, go to and look in the research and reports section.
New Mexico’s various national rankings are what this column and the next are about. But the other important point, maybe the important point, is that things can change and change for the better. In 2013 Colorado was third for job growth. It was 49th in 2002 after what the report calls “the ‘dot.bomb’ recession.”
Many of the comparisons are ugly. But facing these things offers a place to begin a vision. Colorado seems in the top handful on just about everything. New Mexico, well, not so much.
Necessarily the report deals with the past; most tables use data through 2013. In the present, New Mexico tied Idaho for 34th place among the states in job production performance between October 2013 and 2014. Alaska was the only state losing jobs during the year. New Mexico’s four neighboring state all finished in the top ten for job growth percentage. Texas was 2nd; Utah 3rd; Arizona 8th, and Colorado 9th.
For economic outlook, the American Legislative Council places New Mexico 37th. New Mexico’s outlook has been in the mid-thirties since dropping ten places in 2010. Colorado’s outlook has slipped. “The economic outlook for all (Colorado’s) competitor states except New Mexico surpassed Colorado in 2013 and 2014,” the report says.
The big categories are economic vitality, innovation, taxes, livability, K-12 education, higher education, health, infrastructure and international.
The overall infrastructure index from the Beacon Hill Institute puts New Mexico 42nd in 2013 after a bump to 22nd in 2008. The index measures “concentration of mobile phones, access to high-speed broadband, air travel, worker commute times, and access to an affordable cost of living.”
Getting federal money for highways is a place where New Mexico does well. The criteria seem to be few people and much land. New Mexico is 11th in per capita federal highway money (Alaska is first, Wyoming, 2nd) and 7th in “highway performance,” according to the Reason Foundation. This measure leaves unexplained the nine figure gap between available money and what the Department of Transportation would like to build and fix.
Health is another matter. We are 48th in the percentage of the population with health insurance. For registered nurses per 100,000 people, we are 43rd, not good but a six-place improvement since 2008.
Subsidized energy is big. New Mexico is fourth in installed solar energy. Colorado is sixth. Colorado is tenth in wind with New Mexico 18th.
Population growth rate reflects the decisions of many people. Our neighbors live in the top ten. Utah is 2nd, Colorado 3rd, Texas 4th, Arizona 8th, and New Mexico almost last at 48th.
People moving here come to the state with the ninth highest per capita state government spending. Our low property tax status disappears when comparing the largest city in each state. New Mexico, i.e., Albuquerque, is 25th. Only California and Minnesota claim higher business taxes than New Mexico. “New Mexico’s top corporate income tax rate and its higher sales, gross receipts, and excise tax burdens are challenges,” the report says.
“Challenges” is the report’s double-speak word for “problems.” More next week on the opportunities and the problems including the economic vitality rankings.

Colorado Column, 2014, No. 2

Harold Morgan/ New Mexico Progress

“Oil Curse” Is Invented

By Harold Morgan
New Mexico Progress

Forty-fourth is New Mexico’s position on a State Competitiveness Index from the Beacon Hill Institute, and it’s included as the first item in “Toward a More Competitive Colorado,” an annual publication of the Denver Chamber of Commerce.
Eighth place for openness and environmental policy was New Mexico’s highest competitiveness sub-index ranking.
“Competitiveness is a useful concept that points us to the micro‐foundations — the right mix of policies and endowments — that lead to prosperity,” Beacon said in announcing the 2013 rankings. As usual, our neighbors ranked well above New Mexico. Colorado, Utah and Texas were, respectively 7th, 8th, and 9th.
Definitions of economic competitiveness are fuzzy. One suggestion is how well a state marshals resources for prosperity. In the political and policy dialogue, competitiveness seems to mean how well one state compares to another for those businesses seeking a location for a new facility.
State competitiveness leads the economic vitality section. The remaining ratings are for “new economy,” employment growth, gross domestic product per employee, per capita income and economic outlook.
At 37th among the states, our economic outlook isn’t that bad. We could be New York (50th) or Vermont (49th). Vermont and New York lead per-student spending in public schools. We should be with Utah (1st) and Arizona (7th). The outlook comes from the American Legislative Exchange Council.
The Innovation category leads with a state innovation index from the federal Economic Development Administration that seems to measure pervasive technology. Massachusetts leads, with California second, Idaho third (no idea about that one) and Washington fourth (Microsoft, Amazon, etc.) New Mexico is 25 for 2013, down four places from the two previous years.
Montana and Alaska, respectively, lead the entrepreneurial index. We are eighth, well above the innovation rank. For California and Colorado, innovation and entrepreneurialism rankings closely associate. I wonder if New Mexico’s situation might be much more characterized by the one-person businesses. As a percentage of employment, New Mexico’s proprietors are 29th. The small business survival index ranks New Mexico 27th.
In theory, our long leadership in the ratio of research and development spending to state gross domestic product should translate to high per capita R&D spending at our universities. Wrong. The academic spending rank is 21st after being sixth and ninth a few years ago. One can only speculate about the reasons.
The Milken Institute’s State Technology and Science index puts us 22nd for 2012. Massachusetts, Maryland, California and Colorado lead in that order. We do have a lot of high tech employment, sixth per 1,000 workers, but apparently they aren’t that well paid; the average wage is 22nd. Curious.
New Mexico’s oft-cited sunsets apparently add little livability. The well being index places us 33rd. The Dakotas lead. Money and employment must bring happiness. Check with Lea and Eddy county residents on this point. Third place Nebraska is nice but without the psychic sunset appeal. The football, perhaps?
Our sunsets draw few people. Our 2013 population growth placed 48th, ahead of coal-ridden West Virginia and really cold Maine. Utah and Colorado, both blessed with functioning economies, are second and third in population growth.
A thorough review of the Competitive Colorado report might spark understanding of our state’s situation. Or as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Nov. 4 in his election victory speech, “We believe you should build the economy from ground up that’s new and fresh and organic.”
For now we’re stuck with the latest Albuquerque pundit complaint that we have an “Oil Curse,” that masses of resource money will destroy us just like Equatorial Guinea and other sixth world countries. That’s wrong, bizarre, stupid and insulting.
New and fresh and organic. I like that.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Home Sales Continue Ahead of 2014

The metro Albuquerque real estate performance for both single family houses and townhouses/condominiums continued in November to run nicely ahead of the month a year ago, according to the November sales report released today by the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors.
Closed sales for single family homes were 652 in November, 8.5% ahead of November 2014. Seasonality stepped into the November sales picture with a 183 unit, or 22%, drop from October. Sales during November 2014 were 21% below October 2014.
November showed 794 pending sales, 56 homes or 7.6% ahead of a year ago. Pending sales dropped 17% from October.
Homes sold during November were on the market an average of 62 days. May was the last month when the days-on-market period was last over 60 days.
The median single family detached home price was $180,000 during November. That was down $5,000 from October, but remained ahead of October 2014 by $5,000. The average price, $213,686, was down one percent or about $2,200 from November 2014 and also down from October by about $2,600. The average price is down around $13,000 since hitting $226,337 in June, the high for the year.
No $1 million-plus homes closed sale during November.