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Duke City Shows A Healthy Output

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The Albuquerque area’s economic output in the second quarter — despite anemic job growth — topped its pre-recession peak, the 11th best performance among the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, according to a Brookings Mountain Monitor study to be released today.

Gross metropolitan product — the value of goods and services produced in the Albuquerque area — grew 4.7 percent in the second quarter from its previous peak in the first quarter of 2006 and 7.5 percent from its low point in the second quarter of 2008, Brookings said.

The average of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas has grown 0.5 percent from previous peaks and 4.5 percent from troughs.

 

In general, Albuquerque “seems to be tracking broadly national economic trends,” Brookings reported.

At the very least, the measure of gross metro product shows Albuquerque is moving toward rather than away from recovery.

Manufacturing “appears to be the primary driver of your output swing,” according to Kenan Fikri, a senior research assistant at Brookings. “Manufacturing output fell steadily until the second quarter of 2008 and then rebounded swiftly through the third quarter of 2009, hitting a plateau after that. Other sizeable sectors, though — finance, education and health care, government — have grown slowly but steadily over the period too.”

Manufacturing would include Intel’s chipmaking plant in Rio Rancho.

Albuquerque employment growth and real estate market performance were not so impressive. Area employment is down 6.5 percent from its second quarter 2008 peak and up only 0.1 percent from its first quarter 2011 trough. The 100-metros averages are negative 5.1 percent and 1.1 percent respectively.

Albuquerque housing prices are down 23.6 percent from the first quarter 2007 peak, the 52nd worst performance among the 100-metropolitan-area average. Brookings reported Albuquerque housing prices hit bottom in the second quarter of this year.

Brookings said its evaluation of second quarter economic data raised “new questions about the pace and certainty of recovery in the Intermountain West. Even places like Denver, Colorado Springs and Ogden, which only suffered mild setbacks in the early quarters of the recession, have stagnated in the wake of the nation’s worst economic slump since the Great Depression.”

Employment increased “hesitantly” in eight of the 10 Intermountain West metropolitan areas Brookings tracks, and the housing market “slumped to new lows everywhere.”
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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