New Mexico losing jobs while surrounding states gain

Posted at: 01/09/2013 4:42 PM
Updated at: 01/09/2013 5:10 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor portray New Mexico as a desert island of lost jobs surrounded by neighboring states where employment is increasing and the economy is recovering.

They say misery loves company, but poor old New Mexico is all by itself among the western states. The misery map tells the story.

States all around us are growing jobs. Texas - up 274,000 jobs in the twelve months from November, 2011 to November, 2012. Oklahoma - an increase of 38,000 jobs in that same period. Colorado saw an increase of 51,000 jobs, Utah enjoyed growth of 38,000, and in Arizona they can brag about 60,000 new jobs. Meanwhile New Mexico lost 4,800 jobs.  The Albuquerque metro area lost 3,900 of those jobs, the worst record of any American metro area in the twelve month time frame.

That grim picture is in sharp focus these days at the University of New Mexico, where students are looking at the prospect of graduating into a shrunken economy with fewer jobs for the ones who want to stay here.

"I will be lost looking for a job," said UNM student Adriana Ortiz. "That's actually how I am right now. I'm in school but I'm looking for a job at the same time and I'm finding that to be a battle."

"You never know what's going to happen here," said student Steven Charles, who plans a nursing career through the Army Reserves. "It's kind of iffy depending on each year. You never know what job is going to be available and students might have to change their major just to find a job that could suit them."

"My plans are to actually go into criminal prosecution," said UNM law student Dorie LePaul. "In this state that's a pretty healthy standby. You always consider that criminals are going to be around."

Gov. Susana Martinez is proposing a package of tax breaks and incentives to attract employers to New Mexico, including a big cut in the corporate income tax. When state lawmakers convene for their sixty day session next week, that package will be on the table, along with the lawmakers' own proposals for the economy.