Although the length of time of economic expansions and contractions are not necessarily predictive of the duration of future market cycles, it is interesting to look back at the historical performance. As measured by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the peak-to-trough contractions have averaged twelve months in the last forty-five years. The most recent recession has been commonly referred to as the Great Recession both because it was the longest contraction since the Great Depression and also due to the large drop-off in employment and economic activity. The 2008-09 contraction spanned eighteen months. The 1973-75 and 1981-82 recessions lasted sixteen months each. The Great Depression (1929-33) gripped the US economy for 4-1/2 years. Since 1970, the average expansion has averaged seventy-two months, or approximately six years. The US enjoyed ten consecutive years (March 1991 – March 2001) of uninterrupted growth in the 1990s. After Fed Chairman Volcker put… View Full Post
The Rio Grande Water Fund is a non-profit public/private partnership that seeks to treat and thin forests in the Rio Grande Basin, thus protecting one of New Mexico’s most important water sources. The Fund was founded to reduce the prevalence of overgrown, thick, and homogeneous forests and thereby reduce the risk of wildfire and mitigate impacts on watersheds. However, thinning and treating forests is costly, and there are hundreds of thousands of acres that need treating. This raises questions as to the value of improved water quality and security and whether a market can be developed for what is mostly small-diameter wood. The wildfire risk and challenges posed by conditions in the Rio Grande watershed certainly are not unique. Similar conditions and issues exist across much of the West, and have contributed to the occurrence of wildfires that are on average larger in size than those that occurred approximately 30… View Full Post
Eight of the largest foundations in New Mexico have come together to create a Common Grant Application process. These foundations are Albuquerque Community Foundation, Intel, McCune Charitable Foundation, Nusenda Foundation, PNM, PNM Resources Foundation, Sandia Foundation, and United Way of Central New Mexico. Other funders are welcome to participate as well. The application process is hosted by SHARE New Mexico, an online portal for grant-makers, social service providers, researchers, and communities across New Mexico. The creation of the common grant process was reported by the Santa Fe New Mexican. Share New Mexico and the common application process were established in part as the result of a study conducted in 2011 by BBER and funded by the United Way of Central New Mexico and the PNM Foundation. Mission: Graduate, a cradle-to-career education partnership, also attributes its founding to the BBER study.
A data series that economists follow closely is the labor force participation rate. The labor force participation rate, which is estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is the labor force aged at least 16 years (or all appropriately aged individuals classified as employed or unemployed) as a percent of the civilian noninstitutional population aged 16 or more. Prior to the Great Recession, the US participation rate peaked at 66.4%. In other words, 66.4% of all noninstitutionalized individuals were either employed or looking for work. However, post-recession, the rate has been on a downward trajectory and has now registers 62.7%. Analysts often argue that the declining participation rate is worrisome because it may signify weakness in the economy, and specifically in the job market. The argument goes: if the economy was in a better position, an increasing proportion of the population would be either working or looking for work…. View Full Post
Right now the Census Bureau is making important decisions about the next decennial census. It might seem like April 1, 2020 is a long way away from now, but the Bureau published its operational plan back in October last year. The director John Thompson noted in his blog on February, 5, 2016 that this year there will be 62 key decisions made that will effect how the 2020 Census will be carried out. There are also two census advisory committees which have been active in providing recommendations for improvements. While the operational plan outlines in extensive detail lots of activities, there are a few key items that New Mexicans should be aware of. These are programs, which will be requesting information from the states that leading up to the decennial census, will affect how well the data are collected at that time. Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) This program is… View Full Post
New Mexico oil and gas production reached an all-time high last year, more than doubling from approximately 5 million barrels per month in 2009 to over 13 million barrels per month by the middle of 2015. Record high production has contributed to healthy tax revenue collections in recent years and has been a boon for economic activity in New Mexico’s oil producing regions, while also making an important contribution to statewide growth. Last month the global oil over-supply condition and growth concerns in China and other important economies pushed prices to the lowest level seen in twelve years. The decline was so steep, oil fell more than $75 in an eighteen month period. Since global demand growth is not sufficient to work off excess supply, the World’s oil producing nations have sought to cooperate on easing the oil glut in order to stabilize prices; negotiations have helped to somewhat counter… View Full Post
The City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County are updating the comprehensive plan through a process that has been called ABC-Z. The update is designed to be implemented through a new set of integrated zoning and subdivision regulations. Key goals of the project are to improve opportunities for economic development, provide protection for the city’s established neighborhoods, to streamline the city’s development review and approval procedures, and to respond to water and traffic issues. The City of Albuquerque has set up an informational website with all of the details of the project which can be found online at abc-zone.com The City of Albuquerque is making efforts to get the community involved in the planning process by hosting community meetings and working with a consultant on the plan. The city will also gain a better understanding of the effects of the existing regulations on development in Albuquerque by commissioning a study done… View Full Post
According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (http://kff.org/health-reform/state-indicator/total-monthly-medicaid-and-chip-enrollment/#) Medicaid/CHIP enrollment in New Mexico increased by 274,518 persons (60%) between January 1, 2014 and November 2015. Only four states have seen larger increases by percentage (Kentucky, Nevada, Colorado and Oregon). Note that not all of the increase in enrollment are individuals enrolled in Centennial Care; many have enrolled in programs previously available to New Mexicans (e.g. CHIP). In addition to providing health insurance to more than a quarter million New Mexicans, expanded enrollment in Medicaid has had a substantial employment impact in the state. The following is an analysis of the growth of employment in the health care and social assistance sector (NAICS 61) since January 1, 2014. The source of this data is the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. Employment Growth in Health Care & Social Assistance, by Owner and Subsector, 2013Q-2015Q2 Since the beginning of… View Full Post
Although the US economy ended 2015 on somewhat shaky footing, several measures of the labor force are still improving. In particular, the data show that while there has been no upward movement in employer layoffs for several years, voluntary quits have been increasing since 2009. In fact, in December 2015, voluntary quits totaled nearly 3.1 million, which just about equals levels prior to the Great Recession. Voluntary quits are seen as a measure of labor market optimism (as labor market opportunities increase, voluntary quits increase) and an increase in the series is encouraging. Layoff and quit data are produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) program; the most recent data can be found here.
Researchers at UNM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research are part of the New Mexico Universities Working Group on Water Supply Vulnerabilities that was funded by the State Legislature in 2014. The working group was tasked with assessing the current status of New Mexico’s water supply and demand; evaluating the long-term impacts of the current drought on surface water, groundwater, and economic activity; and determining key vulnerabilities and potential policy strategies for mitigating these vulnerabilities. As a first step the Working Group focused on the Lower Rio Grande, and in 2015 provided their final report to the Interim Committee on Water and Natural Resources. Some of the key vulnerabilities identified in the report include: The Santa Teresa, NM area is likely to experience more business and population growth. Yet the current water supply is expected to meet the area’s needs for the next decade only. Continuing drought will create increasingly… View Full Post