Record number of people moving away from Albuquerque

Posted at: 01/08/2013 5:25 PM
Updated at: 01/08/2013 6:09 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Not only does Albuquerque lead the nation in losing jobs, it's also one of the leaders when it comes to losing people, as in people moving away. It's a double whammy haunting the state's deeply troubled economy.

Numbers issued Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Labor show the Albuquerque metro area losing 3,900 jobs from November 2011 to November 2012 - the worst in the nation. Brownsville, Texas and Colorado Springs are also down in the dumps, but not suffering as badly as Albuquerque. The city's unemployment rate is now at a relatively rosy 6.3 percent, leading most analysts to conclude that people are simply leaving the workforce here, either giving up altogether or moving away to seek jobs elsewhere.

John Bouldin is living it. He is a chef with 25 years of experience, out of work and looking hard.

“The economy's rough right now, really rough," Bouldin said. "There are leads here and there but nothing really solid. Everybody’s just in a holding pattern and just not budging. It's difficult."

Bouldin doesn't like to think about moving to another state.

"I've been here most of my life. There's really nowhere for me to go but here. This is where my family is," Bouldin said.

"Moving is a concern, but you know I really like this state,” said unemployed computer programmer David Orahood. “A lot of jobs that are offered are not what we were making before, but to be honest with you there does seem to be a little bit of a recovery."

Andre Tuck admits moving might be an option for him.

"It's not headed that way, but if it comes to that, it's in the back of the mind, yes," Tuck said. "I'm trying to get back into solar manufacturing, but nothing at all is opening up."

United Van Lines published its annual national "migration" study Tuesday, listing New Mexico as one of the top five states for people moving away. It's the only western state on the list that includes New Jersey, Illinois, West Virginia, and New York. United said 58 percent of its New Mexico moves are people moving away from the state. 42 percent are people moving in.

We found a big United truck on Albuquerque's West Side Tuesday afternoon, with workers loading up the Kitt family's belongings for a move from Albuquerque to Townsend, Montana. The Kitts are retiring, so it's not a search for jobs that's forcing the move. But they are an example of the trend United is seeing in New Mexico.

"Where we're going there's no crime," said Jay Kitts. "That's a good thing. It's a small town in Montana and we've always just wanted to retire there."

"We've had a lifelong dream of going back to her hometown," said Jay's husband Steve. "That's the driver. We found a nice home."

United said the top moving destination in the country is Washington DC, followed by Oregon, Nevada, North Carolina and South Carolina.