'We should be in desperation mode, we should be in panic mode' - economic development expert Mark Lautman
BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI
The Albuquerque metro area’s economy was so bad between 2009 and 2014 that it almost fell off the charts of three measures of economic health, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution.
Of the largest 100 metro areas in the U.S., Albuquerque ranked 100th, 99th and 83rd in the three areas measured by Brookings. Economically hobbled cities like Jackson, Miss., and Rochester, New York., fared better than Albuquerque.
The area ranked 99th for economic growth, 83rd for prosperity and 100th for inclusion, which measures how an area’s poorest residents are doing in the economy.
Economic development expert Mark Lautman said the report shows that the metro area’s economy has been contracting and that business and political leaders need to do something immediately. Lautman said, “Not only are we not doing well, but the poorest among us are doing even worse. The pain is not equal. This is just more real bad news.”
Here’s how the four-county metro area ranked in the Brookings report:
Growth: During the five-year period the job growth rate was minus 0.4 percent for a rank of 99. Gross metro product was up by 2.5 percent for a rank of 87th, and average wages fell by 2.3 percent for a 99th place rank.
Prosperity: The average annual wage fell by 1.9 percent or a 94th place rank, while the per capita gross metro product dropped by 0.7 percent for a rank of 83.
Inclusion: The percentage of the working age population that was employed fell by 6.6 percent for last place on the list, the median wage dropped by 10.1 percent for 98th place, and the poverty rate grew by 1.4 percent for 63rd place.
Lautman, principal of Lautman Economic Architecture LLC, has been working with the state Legislature’s Interim Jobs Council for the past several years to develop a baseline for where the state’s economy is and where it needs to go to return to pre-recession levels. The Council’s latest report said the state needs to add 140,000 economic base jobs over the next 10 years to return to pre-recession jobs levels.
Economic base jobs are basically export jobs where 60 percent or more of the good or service it produces is sold outside the state. Those jobs bring new money into a state or metro area and are the only way an area’s economy can grow.
“We need the economic base to grow; the economic base has been shrinking,” Lautman said. adding that the Albuquerque metro area “really doesn’t have a strategy for growing the economy.”
Dennis Domrzalski is an associate editor at ABQ Free Press. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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