Bloomberg News recently named New Mexico the “top performing state economy since Trump took office.”
The article, published Sunday, stated that “New Mexico’s economy leads other states in job and wage gains since President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.”
Jim Peach, professor emeritus of economics at New Mexico State University, expressed surprise at the ranking, though he stated that he had not yet examined Bloomberg’s methodology. He said the data likely reflected New Mexico’s delayed recovery from the recession, as well as the recent upswing in extractive industries like oil and gas.
“We’ve had some employment growth in the last year, and an awful lot of it is in oil and gas,” said Peach. “That’s great for the parts of the state that produce oil and gas . . . but we’ve still got some issues.”
For example, said Peach, the most recent federal data indicate that New Mexico ranks 42nd in the nation for personal income growth over the past year.
Still, the state has recently seen promising signs of economic progress. Peach said Albuquerque has seen strong growth in several sectors, and the number of recipients of the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly known as food stamps – appears to be down.
Experts disagree about whether the SNAP decline reflects an improving economy or issues with the administration of assistance programs.
The ranking is based on an analysis of data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, which compiles a statistic called a “coincident index” for each state that summarizes economic conditions. The coincident index calculation includes information about nonfarm payroll employment, average hours worked in manufacturing by production workers, the unemployment rate and wage and salary disbursements. The average U.S. city consumer price index and the state’s gross domestic product are also weighed in the calculation.
In January 2017, New Mexico’s coincident index was 114.72, according to Federal Reserve data. In August of this year, it was 124.43.
According to Bloomberg, other states that have seen the largest increases in their coincident index are Nevada, Arizona, California and Georgia.