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NM Job Losses 'Unprecedented,' 'Grim'; Santa Fe Job Market 'Especially Disappointing'

September 24, 2009, 12:00 am
By Corey Pein
Bad news today from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, which seems to add weight to this week's Indicators column: The unemployment rate statewide increased .5 percent from July through August. While the rate remains lower than the national average, it still translates to an "over-the-year loss of 30,900 jobs" in New Mexico.

That's a job loss proportionate to 1 in every 44 adult New Mexicans.

Some historical context:
Conditions in the local job market are grim. The decline in the number of jobs is the worst the state has seen since January 1944, when the decline was also 3.7 percent. The 1943/1944 decline was fairly short-lived and followed years where job growth averaged more than 8 percent. Back in the 1940s, New Mexico had a much smaller economy and such variability was more normal than it is today. The current drop in employment is unprecedented in recent times.

As SFR reports this week, the state notes that "Government and private health care appear to offer the best employment prospects for the state as we continue to endure difficult economic times. Most of the gains came from educational & health services." However, "Some of the new government jobs are at the federal level now that hundreds of workers are actively engaged in preparation for Census 2010."

Those are temp jobs, remember. And, apparently, dangerous ones.

As usual, Santa Fe is doing a little better than the rest of the state, though "All-in-all, not much changed employment wise for Santa Fe in August."
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Santa Fe was 6.3 percent in August 2009, up from 5.7 percent in July. A year ago, the local area had an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent...

Over the year, the job growth rate for Santa Fe was minus 3.3 percent, representing a loss of 2,200 jobs. The Santa Fe job market has been weak for about two years, but the recent data are especially disappointing. Previously, job growth had alternated between positive and negative territory, mostly staying close to the zero line. Employment totals have, however, taken a sharp turn for the worse since the start of the year.

Once again, education and health services show the only growth, and construction is worse off than any other sector.
Retail trade was down 400 jobs, leisure & hospitality employment slipped by 200 jobs, while professional & business services was down by 400 jobs. Down by 100 jobs were financial activities and manufacturing.

Translation: We can't count on tourism right now.

What about government?
The government sector reported 100 additional federal jobs, offset by 100 fewer local government jobs.

Oh.

 

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