News Column

Recession Hit Workers Hard in New Mexico

September 6, 2013
nm desert
New Mexico desert landscape (file photo)

A greater proportion of New Mexico's labor pool than the nation's works in areas that fared poorly during the recession, and New Mexicans are paid significantly less than workers in the rest of the country.

That's according to the Rocky Mountain Economist, a publication of the Denver branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

New Mexico's 2012 average annual wage is 83 percent of the average national wage: $40,680, compared with the national average of $49,289, the report said. The average wage in Colorado is $50,559.

"Five industries -- retail trade, professional and business services, private education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and government -- make up more than 60 percent of total employment in the U.S., Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming," according to the report.

But a greater proportion of New Mexicans work in five industries than in the nation as a whole, and some fared especially badly.

Rocky Mountain Economist divided the share of total employment in a particular industry for the state by the share of total employment for the same industry nationally. A quotient of greater than one means the state has a higher concentration in a particular industry compared to the nation.

New Mexico's location quotient is 4.73 for mining and logging, 1.46 for government, 1.22 for construction, 1.06 for leisure and hospitality, and 1.01 for retail trade.

The report said mining, which includes oil and gas exploration, and construction suffered big job losses during the recession, and strained government finances have reduced government employment.

Only New Mexicans employed in the mining and logging sector made a better average annual wage than the national average.

Workers in Colorado earned more than the national average in eight of the 13 sectors studied, and Coloradoans earned more than New Mexicans on average in all sectors.

The average New Mexico mining and logging wage was 105 percent of the national average. Colorado's was 143 percent of the national average.

New Mexico's wages were at least 91 percent of the national average in manufacturing, retail trade, transportation and utilities, and other services.

New Mexico's information sector average wage was 56 percent of the national average, and financial activities was 61 percent of the national average.


(c)2013 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

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Source: Copyright Albuquerque Journal (NM) 2013

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