Good News: Unemployment Down; Bad News: NM Last In Child Well Being

Finally, things are looking up for our city and our state economies when it comes to employment.

Things are looking down when it comes to our children’s wellbeing.


In 2009, New Mexico’s unemployment rate was above 7% and then went to 8% and beyond at the start of 2010.

In February, 2018 New Mexico’s unemployment rate was 5.8 percent.

Albuquerque’s unemployment has also dropped to 4.2 percent.

The number of jobs is growing to nearly the pre-recession peak and the city’s gross receipts tax collections are increasing.

The NM Department of Workforce Solutions reports that the Albuquerque area had 7,300 more jobs, or 1.9 percent growth, compared with a year ago.

That translates to a total of 397,000 jobs, less than 1 percent below the peak of 400,200 jobs in November 2007.

Not surprising is that it is the construction industry that has been a big driver of job growth in Albuquerque and that has always been the case with a recovering economy.

Notwithstanding the growth in the construction industry, Workforce Solutions reported that the biggest jump in May over a year earlier came among professional and business service jobs, which grew by 6.3 percent.

Professional and business service jobs includes a wide range of employers, from architectural services, national lab jobs, real estate and legal to call center positions.

There has also been a 4.4% increase in Albuquerque’s gross receipts tax revenue from business activity meaning more money will be available to pay for government essential services.

Just year ago, according to the state Department of Workforce Solutions, the state’s unemployment rate was 6.3 %.

In February, 2018 New Mexico’s unemployment rate was 5.8 percent.

New Mexico’s unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent in May.


Offsetting the good news regarding the decline in the state’s unemployment rates is that for the first time in five years, New Mexico has fallen to last among states when it comes to the economic, educational and medical well-being of its children, according to a nonprofit that tracks the status of U.S. kids.

The most troubling in the 2018 Kids Count Data Book is New Mexico’s steep drop in ranking for health care measures which previously a bright spot for the state.

According to the 2018 Kids Count Data Book, 30 percent of New Mexico’s children were living in poverty in 2016, compared to 19 percent nationwide that year, the earliest figures available.

In educational measures, the report says 75 percent of the state’s fourth-graders were not proficient in reading in 2017, compared to 65 percent nationally, and 80 percent of eighth-graders were not performing up to par in math in 2017, compared to 67 percent across the U.S.

New Mexico steadily decreased its number of uninsured children between 2010 and 2015, to 4 percent from 10 percent.

But in 2016, that figure edged up to 5 percent.


It’s been over 10 years, but perhaps finally Albuquerque and New Mexico are recovering from the great recession.

There is a direct correlation between a family’s overall income and child wellbeing.

With employment going up, child wellbeing should also go up, but it will take more.

The debate over using a small portion of the state’s $17 billion Land Grant Permanent fund for early childhood education, care and intervention will no doubt be a major issue in the Governor’s race, and it needs to be.

Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department needs pay far more attention to Albuquerque’s growth industries if the city is going to continue turning our economy around.

Our next Governor with a little luck will be dealing with a continuing improving economy and a surplus in tax revenues thanks to oil and gas production.

Notwithstanding, come January 1, 2019 with the swearing in of a new Governor, the Governor and our new Albuquerque Mayor need to work together as much as possible and come up with a viable solution to diversifying our economy with less reliance on federal government spending.

Further the Governor and Mayor Keller should give major attention to use of the State’s Land Grant and Permanent Fund to finally solve many of our early childhood education, care and intervention problems.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.