The 11th Year OF ABQ's Lost Economic Decade

By Albuquerque's standards, the year that ended March 31 was an economic boom. The four-county metro area added 5,300 jobs for a 1.4 percent growth rate, and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent.

But again, this is Albuquerque standards. And as of the end of March, the metro area had entered the 11th year of its lost economic decade. Meaning, the area still has yet to regain all the jobs it lost during the recession. As of March, the area had 392,100 jobs, still a far way off from the peak of 401,700 jobs it had in December of 2007.

But, there was some good news. All but one of 10 industry sectors added jobs, and even manufacturing, which had been a “sick child” over nearly two decades of jobs losses, gained jobs. Again! March represented the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year job gains for manufacturing.

The problem is that the sector is so small that a gain of a mere 200 jobs represented a 1.3 percent increase. The graph below shows ABQ's manufacturing jobs history.

Now the bad news. That 1.4 percent jobs growth rate was near the bottom of any major metro area in the region. Only Tucson had a low growth rate at 0.9 percent.

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