May 14, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-244-9505
ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico has lost 42,700 jobs since the Great Recession began, but the state’s jobs deficit is more than double that number. That’s because the state should have added 58,300 jobs since the recession began just to keep pace with population growth. Taken together, those two numbers show that the state is short 101,000 jobs—more than the entire working populations of Las Cruces, Belen, Deming, Grants, Roswell, Española, and Farmington combined. The jobs deficit is one of the focus areas of the report “The State of Working New Mexico 2013,” released today by New Mexico Voices for Children.
By most indicators of worker well-being—employment, unemployment, workforce participation rates, and the like—New Mexico has yet to recover from the losses incurred since December 2007, when the recession began. While wages are higher than they were in 2000, median household income is still lower than it was before the recession began, and New Mexico has the second lowest median household income in the Mountain West region.
“When workers experience unemployment, their children suffer, and that suffering will have life-long consequences,” said Veronica C. García, Ed.D., Executive Director of NM Voices. “This report shows that the state’s economic development strategies need to be better targeted and any tax incentives must be tied to performance and stringent accountability. State leaders also need to be strengthening the safety net for vulnerable children,” she added.
The report points to the construction sector as the biggest loser in the recession—shedding almost one-third of its jobs. That’s higher than the national average of 23 percent. While construction is growing on the national level, New Mexico is still losing jobs on an over-the-year basis.
“New Mexico is simply not creating jobs at the pace it should be and that is cause for concern,” said Gerry Bradley, report author, and Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst for the child advocacy organization. “Our decades-long experiment with tax cuts as a way to create jobs has been a bust. Not only do we not have the new jobs that were promised, the tax cuts have led to less revenue for important services like education, health care, and public safety, which are vital to real economic development. That revenue shortfall has also contributed to our jobs deficit in both public- and private-sector industries,” he added.
“The report makes several policy recommendations to spur job creation and assist the unemployed and their families,” said Dr. García. Among the recommendations are: improving workforce educational levels by investing in early care and education programs that serve children from birth to age five; increasing the minimum wage statewide and indexing it so it keeps pace with inflation; and fully implementing the Affordable Care Act, which includes enrolling all eligible low-income adults in Medicaid.
The full report is available online at: https://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/State-of-Working-NM-2013.pdf
The executive summary is available online at: https://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/SWNM-2013-exec-sum.pdf
New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Our fiscal policy work is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project.
625 Sliver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org