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N.M. Jobs Crash

N.M. Jobs Crash

Not only did New Mexico lose jobs, but its civilian workforce—a key indicator of the health of an economy—shrank by 0.7 percent during the year. A declining labor force means that people have given up looking for work or have left the state.

N.M. Loses 1,800 Jobs

Oil and gas crash responsible

BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI

The slowdown in the oil and gas industry helped crater New Mexico’s economy during the past year. In the 12 months that ended Jan. 31, the state lost 1,800 jobs, for a 0.23 percent decline, according to figures Monday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It was the first month-over-month yearly jobs decline in more than three years, and it was led by the crash in the oil and gas sector, which shed 7,700 jobs, or 26 percent of its workforce. That loss was nearly balanced by a 7,300 jobs growth in the education and health services sector, but overall, six industry sectors lost jobs and five gained them.

Manufacturing continued its decades-long decline by shedding 1,200 jobs, or 4.3 percent, according to the BLS’s figures, which were not seasonally adjusted.

Not only did New Mexico lose jobs, but its civilian workforce—a key indicator of the health of an economy—shrank by 0.7 percent during the year. A declining labor force means that people have given up looking for work or have left the state.

If there was any good news in Monday’s jobs report, it was that New Mexico’s economy wasn’t the worst in the region. Oklahoma—another energy-dependent state—lost 9,600 jobs, or 0.6 percent.

Other industry sectors that lost jobs during the year were trade, transportation and utilities, 2.1 percent; information, 1.7 percent; financial activities, 0.3 percent; and government, 0.6 percent.

Sectors that gained jobs were construction, 1.5 percent; professional and business services, 1.1 percent; education and health services, 5.3 percent; leisure and hospitality, 2.2 percent; and other services, 1.4 percent.

The Albuquerque metro area’s economy slowed as well; it added 2,700 jobs during the year for a 0.7 percent increase. But that was down from the 1.2 percent increase it saw in December.

Four sectors lost jobs: construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; and leisure and hospitality.

The Farmington area lost 1,300 jobs for a 2.5 percent drop. Las Cruces added 300 jobs, for a 0.4 percent growth rate, and Santa Fe grew by 1,600 jobs, or 2.7 percent.

New Mexico’s economy is heavily dependent on two sectors: oil and natural gas and government. About a third of the state’s general fund budget comes directly and indirectly from oil and gas money. Falling and stagnant oil prices have wreaked havoc with the state’s budget. During the recently-ended legislative session, lawmakers said the state is facing a $700 million to $900 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year. That shortfall, they said, is directly related to the crash in oil and natural gas prices.

Here’s a look at over-the-year job growth in other states in the region:

NM jobs crash

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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  • J A
    March 21, 2016, 11:58 pm

    The irony is, and NM does irony like no other, cutting edge research in solar, wind, biofuel, and other green energies is being conducted right here in the Labs, Universities, and through a variety of companies. I don’t know the ins and outs but we have more sun, more space, and more people looking for good, permanent work (than anywhere else evidently). To get off the leash and economic dependence on the coal, gas, and oil industry and lead the way in alternative energy sectors seems THE obvious path forward. ‘It’s not that easy, sonny’, you might say or hear. Well, get the right people elected, and I’d argue it’d be a snap. And a boon for NM. Instead of keep gettin’ fleeced.

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