State and national labor statistics for May are to be released today. MSA-level data for May
won’t be available until late June.
Workforce Solutions public information officer Joy Forehand said the department isn’tcelebrating yet, though the latest numbers are “exciting.”
“We’re starting to see sustained improvement in employment numbers statewide sinceOctober,” she said. “Albuquerque has been the last area to show significant improvement.”
She cautioned that April’s good employment numbers will be revised when the federal Bureau
of Labor Statistics uses its statistical tools to polish the data.
“We’re cautious,” she said. “We’re watching for a few months to see where the trend is going.”
Lee Reynis of the University of New Mexico Bureau of Business and Economic Research
believes “what’s going on is we’re beginning to see the economy turn around.”
Among the positive signs: Bureau of Labor Statistics revisions of the December jobs report werein an upward direction; construction employment has been growing; and payroll growth, as
measured by the state’s largest workers compensation insurance underwriter, is consistently
positive in all areas of the state.
“The construction sector has been negative for a very long time, though less negative as westarted this year,” Reynis said. In April, the sector added 1,000 jobs, possibly because
residential real estate values have been improving. Historically in Albuquerque, whenconstruction is doing well other sectors of the economy do well, too.
Improvement in construction and rising home prices indicate “there is some underlying strength
in the economy that is encouraging people to move h
ere, get houses and take jobs,” Reynis
Where that strength is, assuming it’s really there, is not clear yet. The data do show the MSA
continues to add jobs in education and health services, leisure and hospitality (which nowrepresents 40,000 jobs in the Albuquerque area), information, wholesale trade, finance, and instate and local government. Area manufacturers and the professional and business servicessector continue to shed jobs.New Mexico Mutual looked at its workers compensation insurance premium data beginning in2008 to see if they show a trend. Premiums are based on payrolls and can suggest whether
New Mexico’s employers are increasing the number of hours employees work and the number
of workers employed.