New Mexico’s economy is near the bottom of the barrel according to a recent ranking. WalletHub listed New Mexico’s economy as 40th among all states and Washington D.C., as the state ranked dead-last in economic health, largely because of the nation’s highest unemployment rate of 6.7 percent. New Mexico also ranked last in the average educational attainment of recent immigrants. But New Mexico ranked second in the highest percentage of jobs in high-tech industries, only trailing Massachusetts. That high-tech industry jobs category helped New Mexico rank 16th in innovation potential, one of the three main categories averaged together for a final score—alongside economic activity and economic health.
Thanks to Gov. Susana Martinez’s vetoes of the higher education and legislative budgets, hostilities between the governor’s office and legislators over taxes and next year’s budget are playing out statewide, and daily in the headlines. Soon, the two parties will be facing off in the New Mexico Supreme Court over those two line-item budget vetoes. On the surface, the battle is over the budget. It also raises deeper questions about power and control: Can one person and a handful of executive office staffers and advisers wield ultimate power over the 112 legislators elected from communities across the state? But beneath the layers of campaigns, elections and public debates, there are also powerful people, companies and industries at work behind the scenes.
Two years ago, 21 children and teenagers sued the federal government, alleging that it had violated their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by taking actions that cause climate change and increase its dangers. The young people, including Albuquerque-born Aji Piper, want the government to align carbon emissions reductions with what scientists say is necessary to avoid catastrophic and irreversible warming. “Going to rallies is great, speaking up is great,” said 16-year old Piper of climate activism. “But we need to get our government in on this.”
The youth say that by not cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the government has failed to protect essential public trust resources like land, air and water for future generations. The suit is led by Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit, which tried to stop intervention by the fossil fuel industry in the case.
The White House celebrated the increase of income growth and health insurance coverage along with a decrease of poverty in New Mexico between 2014 and 2015. “New Mexico has added jobs consistently and brought its unemployment rate down, though it’s still a little higher than the national average,” White House Council of Economic Advisers chairman Jason Furman said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. While New Mexico remains one of the poorest states in the nation, the new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show that things are trending upwards in these key indicators. Still, the growth in these areas was smaller than in other states. The median household income grew by 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2015 in the United States as a whole from $53,718 to $56,516 according to the Census Bureau numbers.
A new ranking shows New Mexico is the sixth-poorest state in the United States. The ranking by 24/7 Wall St used recently-released U.S. Census Bureau data to rank all 50 states, from richest to poorest. The data, from the 2015 American Community Survey, included information on not just median income, but also on income inequality, food stamp usage and more. The study also included 2014 and 2015 unemployment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. New Mexico’s median income was $45,382, still well below the national median income of $55,775.
The rate of unemployed New Mexicans is the second-highest in the nation after increasing in August. That’s according to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal agency which released its latest state-by-state preliminary employment figures Tuesday. New Mexico’s unemployment was 6.6 percent in August, still much higher than the 4.9 percent rate in the United States overall. The lowest unemployment rate is in South Dakota, which has a 2.9 percent unemployment rate. The only state with a higher unemployment rate than New Mexico is Alaska, which has a 6.8 percent unemployment rate.
New Mexico just got some more bad economic news. The state of was of eight states whose gross domestic product (GDP) fell during the fourth quarter of 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said Tuesday. New Mexico’s GDP fell by 1.1 percent, with the mining and oil and gas sectors showing the biggest drops. The utilities, construction, manufacturing and health care and social assistance sectors also registered declines. This piece originally appeared on the ABQ Free Press website and is reproduced with permission.
New Mexico’s economy sputtered and sank into negative territory in April as the downturn in the oil and gas industry continued to drag the economy down. The state lost 300 jobs in the year that ended April 30, for a negative 0.01 percent growth rate, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. It was the first time in several years that overall job growth turned negative, and it showed just how dependent the state’s economy is on the oil and gas sector, which lost 6,400 jobs over the year for a negative 25 percent growth rate. Related industries also shed jobs, including trade, transportation and utilities, which was down 2,000 jobs, or 2.5 percent, and construction, which was off 900 jobs, or 2 percent. Six industry sectors lost jobs and five gained them, according to the BLS figures, which were not seasonally adjusted.
Intel Corp. on Tuesday would not confirm or deny a news report that it will cut 215 jobs at its Rio Rancho plant in the coming months. Citing unidentified sources, KOB TV reported that the Rio Rancho plant would lose 215 jobs. But Intel spokeswoman Natasha Martell Jackson said she wouldn’t comment on the report. Related Story: Latest tax break for Intel didn’t stop job cuts
Speculation has been swirling about the fate of the Rio Rancho plant since Intel announced last week that it would cut 12,000 jobs worldwide, or 11 percent of its workforce, in a massive restructuring effort.
Employment at Intel’s Rio Rancho plant fell to 1,900 people at the beginning of the year, a drop of 400 people from the beginning of 2015, the company said Tuesday. Those lost positions were the result of retirements, relocations and resignations, and not layoffs, Intel’s Rio Rancho plant spokeswoman Natasha Martell Jackson told ABQ Free Press. The Rio Rancho plant had 5,500 employees in the mid-2000s. Intel announced Tuesday that it is cutting 12,000 jobs, or 11 percent from its worldwide workforce, by mid-2017. The company did not give specifics about those cuts and it did not say how they would affect the Rio Rancho facility.