Make New Mexico Poorer — Support Tourism!

Last week, the ABQ Free Press‘s Dennis Domrzalski had some fun with the latest “tourism” figures trumpeted by state officials. He noted that the “‘trip’ stats are extrapolated from surveys filled out by travelers and probably include people who are driving through the state on their way to somewhere else. … So if someone stops to buy gas, beef sticks or cheese puffs at a gas station along the interstates, they’re most likely counted. That includes long-haul truck drivers who stop to shower in a truck stop and fuel up. And that probably includes people in layovers at the airports.”

Of further concern is the fact that the figures were supplied by Longwoods International, a firm that Errors of Enchantment has brought to readers’ attention before.

But there’s a larger question worth asking: Why is the state pushing tourism as “economic development” at all?

Check out the chart below. It’s a look at average hourly wages in the North American Industry Classification System‘s ten supersectors.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The worst wage is in Leisure and Hospitality, which pays 32.3 percent less than the second-lowest supersector.

But wait, it gets worse. Yesterday, federal labor economics announced that Leisure and Hospitality “had an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent in June 2017, the highest among industries.”

Don’t New Mexico’s elected officials and economic-development bureaucrats want the populace to be employed and grow wealthier? If so, they’re going about it in a curious way.

Now, don’t be alarmed. Errors of Enchantment isn’t about to start advocating for a Financial Activities Department or a Professional and Business Services Department. Our task here is to highlight the inanity of government picking winners and losers, either between or within industries.

True supporters of economic development in the Land of Enchantment understand that government should be entirely neutral when it comes to creating jobs and boosting wages. Lighten the tax and regulatory burdens so that all businesses — resorts and factories, tech firms and mines, galleries and banks, farms and stores — prosper. Are there any New Mexico pols willing to give it a try?

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3 Replies to “Make New Mexico Poorer — Support Tourism!”

  1. If we are to believe Sens. Udall and Heinrich, hundreds of thousands of tourists are flocking to New Mexico to hike around our super-sized national monuments, creating outdoor-recreation jobs and adding scads of money to local economies. Yet, inexplicably, the state is still dirt-poor and the unemployment rate has not budged.

    I can see one advantage to boosting tourism, however. Employers can’t find enough qualified candidates in New Mexico to fill manufacturing and information jobs. But our school system is good at turning out restaurant servers, chambermaids and tour bus drivers.

  2. In terms of Full Disclosure: For 9 years I’ve volunteered meeting actual (or actually meeting) tourists while passing on local and statewide tourist info. Keep Calm and Chive On, knowing that the Org I do it for, never sends me “Talking Points”.
    IMHO, tourists coming to New Mexico reflects that there are things to see and do here besides the weather…ok…and the glorious sunsets and green/red chile and beautiful Women; indeed, some may come for a Foot Long (NM Red) Chile Cheese Dog con onions at the over 60 yr. old Dog House of Route 66, but I digress.
    I believe, and stand to be corrected, that “quality of life” is one ingredient that a company with high paying jobs might make it a requisite in locating here….if they can get past the report of a high school student being concerned about our ‘bad’ crime rate (reputation) in possibly not choosing UNM…paragraph 3 here!!!
    Psychologists tell us that we are not all created equal despite what pundits/activists pontificate. One might take that to mean that many Folk…THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN…i.e. no matter how much they put their shoulder to the wheel….ain’t going to qualify for most/many high paying jobs Y’all would like to see here for e.g. taxing purposes, i.e. personal income and GRT. Nevertheless, those of average or lesser intelligence, need to make a living to survive in order to stay away from the public trough. If naught for them: if there are no quality restaurants/shoppes/etc. due to a lack of lowly paid servers/clerks/etc. are high end employees really going to want to reside here even tho they can whisk around on our modern day ART? (Bless Me Ultima! I refrained from mentioning APS!) What does it gain a Women or Man to gain so much money if they can’t enjoy it by lavishing it on themselves?
    – From my chats with tourists, and if you accept a bit of the above, (and having good faith that the Tourist Industry is proficient in utilizing the money bestowed on them) we could stand to actually boost up ($$$) tourism marketing, as so many Folks are so unwittingly “just passing through” to be only spending the night after just a couple of hours in Olde Town. Either Folks are just overly polite or my rap really almost brings them to tears as they stand patiently enthralled for 10 minutes with “stuff” to do that they now can’t fit in their schedules. In contrast, it also amazes me how many Folks are Returnees and how many Europeans are in NM for at least a week, including many Folks “doing” Route 66…much to their “horrified” dismay this year.
    Well, I’m starting to make this a Master’s Thesis, when I really just wanted to comment:
    “….probably include people who are driving through the state on their way to somewhere else. … So if someone stops to buy gas, beef sticks or cheese puffs at a gas station along the interstates, they’re most likely counted.” T’would seem to me, your “hard hitting” critique would have nailed down “the facts” rather than hypothesize/guess (no pun intended) who actually are participants in the survey that “probably” and “most likely” suggest is not really known.
    PS: Do you have an opine that Janice Arnold-Jones is once again offering “to serve” by running for the Dist 1 Representative Seat?

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