The state has 142.6 people 'in' the economic wagon for every 100 'pulling it'
BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI
New Mexico ranks first among the states when it comes to the disparity between the number of people pulling its economic wagon to the number of those in it, according to Forbes magazine. That could mean trouble for the state come the next recession as those who have to pull the wagon decide to leave the state instead.
New Mexico is one of six states that have more people in its economic wagon than those pulling it, Forbes said in its Feedme Ratio survey. The state has 142.6 people in the economic wagon for every 100 pulling it. Those hitching a ride include state and local government workers, public pension beneficiaries and Medicaid recipients. Those pulling the wagon include private sector workers and federal government employees.
States like New Mexico, with more people in the wagon than those pulling it, “are at risk of going into a downward spiral in the next recession,” Forbes said. “The burdens will remain, but too many of the providers — employers in the private sector—might shrink or decamp. Why add jobs in a state that asks each productive worker to carry not just his or her own weight but also the weight of one other person? The hazard with overburdened states is that the departure of jobs could someday turn into a route.”
New Mexico has been losing people to other states for the last few years. In the year that ended July 1, the state had a net outmigration of 9,721, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It means that many more people left the state than came here. Since April of 2010, New Mexico’s net outmigration has totaled 27,115 people. During the year, the state’s population shrank by 458 people, marking the second consecutive year of population decline.
New Mexico’s Medicaid burden continues to increase. In November, 834,853 people, or 40.5 percent of the population, were on Medicaid, the joint federal and state health care program for low-income people, according to the New Mexico Human Services Department. And 23 percent of all jobs in the state were government jobs. Here are the states with the worst Feedme Ratios [number of people in the wagon for every 100 pulling it]:
New York: 108.8
West Virginia: 115.8
New Mexico: 142.6
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