New Mexico’s deeply-troubled economic picture

As the 2017 legislative session heads toward a conclusion absent any significant economic reforms, but having passed several tax hikes that may be vetoed by Governor Martinez, the State’s economic picture continues to darken.

After months of hovering near the top of the national ranking of states with the highest unemployment rates, New Mexico “broke through” in January rising to 6.7%. The contrast is even more stark when New Mexico is compared against its more economically-free and successful neighbors, especially Colorado which does not have “right to work” (as do our other neighbors), but has Constitutional tax and spending protections, no Davis-Bacon prevailing wage law, and has legalized and taxes marijuana.

Making New Mexico’s high unemployment rate even worse is the fact that, as the Albuquerque Journal noted recently, the proportion of New Mexicans working relative to the population is the lowest its been since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started measuring back in 1976.

NM employment ratio weakest since '76

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98 Replies to “New Mexico’s deeply-troubled economic picture”

    1. Obviously it depends on circumstances. I’m living in NM despite what I know about the economy and the overall situation here. I think if I were considering a move to NM, I’d just carefully consider what my goals and needs were. Colorado is in a MUCH better economic situation. It is more expensive, but shows none of the serious signs of crisis that we see in New Mexico. Each person’s situation is different.

      1. Sooo i am retired, I make enough to survive on,but if N.M. is having a high unemployment rate,is the price on food, utilities,just flipping live expensive? I lived there a few decades ago

        1. Except for high-flying Santa Fe, the cost of living in NM is still among the lowest or is the lowest in the country in every way- houses, rents, property taxes, income taxes, utilities, homeowners insurance, car insurance, car registration, food, services, etc. Its very low cost and thus perfect for retirees and others on fixed or moderate incomes. Its also getting better in some ways too. But as others have also noted here, the locals are very cliquish so try to make friends with people who have moved into NM from other parts of the country and you’ll be fine. And do watch out for the fiery latino tempers too. Finally, finding a good primary care doctor is hard though as there’s a worsening shortage both here and throughout the USA in fact.

          1. Sorry Tom, but New Mexico does not have low rents, high pay or cheap taxes, we are not the lowest cost of living state and ABQ is for sure not in that realm!

            If you are looking for those attributes, head to Omaha, Kansas or Pennsylvania, here our avg. rent for a nice, non ghetto 2/2 apt is $1000-$1200 per month -Omaha is $850-$1000 and there is a job market with very little unemployment.

    2. Sue, NM his a consistently average to a poor economic picture. However, as much as it is not stellar in its economic picture, it is never totally dead either. It is a traditionally poor state but that does not mean you cannot get a job or do well there. I opened a firm there years ago and did well. I moved to Phoenix after a few years because Phoenix offered a more diverse population. However, I will likely move back to Albuquerque due to the climate, friendly populace, scenery, and casual life style. I am not wealthy and the low cost of living in Albuquerque entices me. I really love NM. Go for it.

      1. I/we live in San Diego, CA. And where I live, and “SEE” in S. CAL. IT’S NO-HEAVEN! and NEITHER is NM!! The Land/Home PRICES are WAY TOO HIGH!!! MY mom/grandparents were born in Mora, New Mexico. And I WANTED to return to my ROOTS!!! But “GREED” is doing FINE in New Mexico, as WELL in San Diego, CA!!! No WONDER the Navaho’s have MOVED OUT — OR, FORCED out by “WHITE” Greed!!! Nothing CHANGES!!! Ole Mexico, LOOMS VERY HIGH in my future!! I gota get out of USA, before ‘trumpF’, WALLS me …”IN” !!!! I’M CUTTING OFF THE ROOTS …

        1. You could have stayed in NM and had a say so on what is happening, you can’t be a Johnny come Lately and have input when you bask in California, so it is probably good that you cut your ties, New Mexico needs fighters not quitters

        2. Greed knows NO bigotry or race, racism is a disease that creeps into our language and thoughts like a cancer, it is a shame that so many people have contracted this disease, I truly hope that you get well soon, we all share the land…

    3. I would not unless you agree with pot shops and sex clubs.colorado has gotten way two libreal.sancuary state.crime on rise after pot made legalization.was good place raise family not now.looking to move soon

  1. I would never live in New Mexico if I needed to work for a living or raise a family, but have found it a great place to retire. The cost of living is low, the weather is great, and I can attend a symphony concert for what it costs to park my car at a concert in Chicago.

      1. I am retired in Santa Fe and the Dr. situation is grimm most DR’s are not taking new patience and if you can get one to see you it can take months to get in.

      2. Hello
        Think twice about retiring in Albuquerque: The crime rate is one of the highest in the country (our house was broken into 3 times in 13 years); poverty is endemic (one of the lowest median family incomes in the country); the police shoot first and ask questions later; traffic is congested and drivers are exceptionally rude; the infrastructure is crumbling despite 365 day/year road repair; for the size of the town, it is exceedingly cliquish and provincial; the manana attitude is alive and well. However, health care is quite good.

      3. MEDICAL CARE IN NM IS AWFUL. NO ONE SEEMS TO KNOW OR CARE ABOUT THE NEW PRES. HOSPITAL UNDER CONSTRUCTION. THE FACILITIES FOR ELDERLY IF ILL OR ACCIDENT, ARE PITIFUL IN SANTE FE AND I ASSUME EVEN WORSE IN OUTLYING TOWNS. DOES ANYONE HAVE A COMPLETION DATE OR GUESS FOR HOSPITAL GOING UP IN SANTE FE.? ALBUQUERQUE IS NOT A QUICK WALK IN THE PARK FROM SANTE FE, ESPECIALLY FOR OLDER PATIENTS WITH NO FAMILY THERE.

      4. The Las Cruces, NM area is still growing, especially with retirees. The weather is great, we have a strong medical profession and 2 hospitals.

        I moved here from Lewisville, TX, and I still work. Real estate taxes are low. I don’t recommend Albuquerque. There are several safe neighborhoods.

        Check in with Jake Mossman at Exit Realty 575 650 8615

      5. There are some very nice areas and some very bad, stay to the N. east quadrant of Albuquerque for the country club setting Rio Rancho is nice too and has cheap land plus a nice quality of life, Lovelace hospital is very good, UNM hospital if you have a traumatic injury, but not a good place for long term or primary doctor, if you are having a heart attack head to UNM if you are looking for a great cardiologist Lovelace Heart hospital is the place to look, Presbyterian is middle of the road, but better quality of care than UNM (UNM has a terrible nursing staff) The South West side of town has some large ranches and a wonderful Old Mexico character that is very rich in culture, worth a good look!

    1. Good to hear as my husband and I are looking to retire in either Mimbres Valley (outside Silver City) or Capitan near Ruidoso.

    1. I think it is a great investment. Most everything is under priced right now. Groups of investors are starting to swoop up property especially in the historic district. It is the county seat with a lovely four year university and a hospital. I have had a group from rancho santa fe come to start making offers, a couple from Palm desert just bought some notable property for case and an investment group representing foreign investors up in ABQ are now tasked with promoting and focusing on Silver City. this is the opportunity of the century- just 3 hrs from Tucson a lot like durango was in the arly 80’s – and withing five – 10 years values had increased 5-10x

      1. Yeah investors from east coast and west coast are buying commercial properties, kicking out businesses, and sitting empty for six months plus; because they jack up the prices higher than New Mexicans can afford. Not a sound business practice.

        1. Is lack of water a concern for future development? If so, then it seems that the population is probably already close to maximum capacity?

    2. Investors have created a severe housing shortage by turning previously long term rentals into VRBO and Air B&B. Landlords are breaking leases and evicting tenants. You won’t get a friendly welcome for this, but if you’re an absentee owner and you don’t care about the local housing crisis, then by all means do it.

      1. Are you referring to Santa Fe? I wouldn’t say that anywhere else in NM has a housing crisis. And Santa Fe’s is caused by local government policies, especially the NIMBY attitude towards apartments. Not caused by Air B&B.

  2. So why are we continuing to hurt nm by shutting down our power plants and coal mines. These jobs provide tax money to help our state. Why force jobs out of our state when we should be doing everything to keep the ones we have and bring more to our community. Help keep new Mexico. Not many people know about our coal mines here in New Mexico. New Mexicans I implore you inform yourselves.

    1. Why not update instead and retrain people for work in Solar and wind energy as we have plenty of both! It is clean and not destructive ecologically….Why try to recreate something that was never quite profitable in New Mexico? AND is a damaging source to those that work in the industry as well as overall environment…..I implore you to inform yourself.

      1. Solar and wind require significant government subsidies. Also, as a general rule, government should not pick winners and losers. New Mexico is an energy rich state. I think we can further leverage that, but we do need to diversify out of that one industry while maintaining leadership in the areas that have proven themselves to be viable without subsidies.

        1. Subsidies distort the real cost of wind and solar. Both wind and solar are unreliable. They either fry or kill our birds. Allowing 5000 eagles a year to be killed in ridiculous. Both wind and solar can not replace a power plant. A power plant must operate at a certain capacity or it will not work and can’t be eliminated unless you want no electricity when down. If there are repairs on the windmills the expensive repairs are made in Scandinavia or Germany. Note yourself and observe the number of blades not turning. Wind and solar are only good in niche situations. Raising taxes only accelerates NM problems. The answer is to eliminate your liberal lying politicians. The liberal politician only want your vote and not really concerned about the of people. I found this web site by accident since we just acquired some NM property which are going to try quickly to sell.

          1. Almost completely inaccurate Joe. Maybe you should have done your homework *before* you acquired the land. Wind and solar are cheaper than coal. Coal gets a ton of subsidies as well, to reduce pollution.

        2. Good Job, on the issues with Solar and Wind. Chicken little!! “The Sky is Falling”!! Says alot.

    2. maybe because the kinds of jobs at power plants and especially coal mines are HORRIBLE and UNSAFE. Why insist on using outdated energy when there are better jobs to be had through a bit of effort and education, which many states pay for when industries expire.

    3. Because coal kills. Pollution and climate drift are taxes on the future. The sun shines bright. Coal puts human health and societies potential behind profits. That is a crime against humanity. Greed kills.

      1. I actually take the middle view here. Coal is going to fall out of favor mostly due to market forces. As an environmentalist are you willing to support natural gas and nuclear as replacements? Wind and solar are not ready for prime time as a replacement for traditional fuel sources.

  3. I am a New Mexico native, left 35 years ago, now I’m retired and think NM would be a great place to go back to. Not wealthy in fact will be squeaking by. Texas is great bu the Property Taxes are causing people to lose their homes. What would the taxes be on a $150K home in the Albuquerque area? Thanks

    1. When I retired to ABQ from Chicago 11 years ago my property taxes went down and my auto insurance rates went up. You probably can browse online real estate listings and get tax amounts on the county website. Property taxes are low here because school funding comes from NM income tax and the gross receipts tax. Those taxes are likely to go up because government spending is growing faster than the private economy. On balance, I’ve found NM a good place to retire.

    2. I currently live in Hillsboro Oregon. My wife and I are considering retiring to Las Cruces, NM. Home prices there are 40% of what they are where we live for the same size of house. Property taxes are 1/3 of what we pay in Oregon. Personal income tax rate is half. Although there is no sales tax in Oregon they hit us hard for gas and other types of luxury taxes.

      1. I think retiring to NM is a reasonable option for the reasons you state. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, NM’s economy remains challenged, but if you are retiring and don’t need to work, you are in pretty good shape coming here.

        1. New Mexico is an undiscovered gem as a retirement destination. If the state made some modest efforts to attract retirees — such as not levying income tax on military pensions — this could reverse the population decline. Not to mention upgrade the electorate.

        2. I currently live, retired, in Salem, Oregon, and will be moving to Alamogordo for all the reasons Jim mentions and then some. I am just so impressed by how far the real estate dollar goes in New Mexico, and the taxes are so reasonable. My family ranched in the Tularosa Basin starting in the 1880s, so in a way, I will be coming home.

          1. Welcome to New Mexico. Would love for you to join up and/or get involved in the Rio Grande Foundation when you arrive. There are a lot of great folks in this state, but the economy is not great for job seekers. As noted throughout this posting, it is a very good place for retirees.

          2. Welcome to New Mexico. Would love for you to join up and/or get involved in the Rio Grande Foundation when you arrive. There are a lot of great folks in this state, but the economy is not great for job seekers. As noted throughout this posting, it is a very good place for retirees.

          3. Both my wife and I have spent a good amount of time traveling New Mexico. We’ve found the people to be friendly, helpful and very open about the problems of the state. Based on my calculations around property and income taxes, we’ll come out much better living in New Mexico. While on our last trip to Las Cruces my wife injured her foot and the medical attention was exceptional. We were in and out of the hospital in about 1 1/2 hours. Here where we live that’s unheard of. I could put my home on the market here in Hillsboro, OR and have it sold in less than 48 hours. It’s happening everywhere around me right now. I’m not concerned about a job so the employment rates can only be to our advantage.

      2. Jim,
        My best advice is stay at least two or three months in any part of New Mexico you are interested in making your new home. There are many charming aspects of visiting most parts of our state, but living here has challenges that a couple of months will reveal. The longer stay will give you an idea of what you are facing. A cheaper lifestyle includes sacrifices you may find you don’t like. ( limited medical care for instance) For others the sacrifices are right in line with a simpler lifestyle. Look in more than one area. The lifestyles of communities in New Mexico are as various as climate, geography and culture.

    3. You can’t buy a house in Albuquerque for 150K. Well, you can but it might not be livable or in a less than desirable area. Bernalillo County and Sandoval County have property taxes almost as high as those in Texas metros.

    4. –> Chip, a very rough calculation is the market value divided by 3 (1/3) this is the tax or appraisal value then approximately 2% times the appraisal value with a 3% increase cap each year. If you are in a city or higher value area there might be a little extra. Every county is different – but similar. On a $150,000 – I would think your taxes would be about $1,000 per year, maybe a tiny bit more.

    5. Retired to Albuquerque 3 years ago have lived here before. Since I came back direct from Phoenix am often asked which city do I recommend. I have only one question, “ Do you need to work?” if yes, Phoenix if not Albuquerque. Keep in mind Albuquerque is no Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, etc., but it doesn’t cost as much here either.

  4. The 6.7% unemployment rate concerns me greatly. High unemployment leads to crime, homelessness, and drug abuse. I would like to apply for an entry level job, in my field, however, I don’t want to be surrounded by that kind of environment.

    1. Unless you have aspirations to work in the Nuclear Weapons field(s), NM is not a place to begin a career. The national labs (Sandia and Los Alamos) are really the only employers in the state that would allow an intern to thrive. I am an Albuquerque native and continue to live here for family reasons. I have to travel for work in order to have a somewhat decent living, as Albuquerque has no industry for skilled labor, thus very few well paying jobs. The crime in the Albuquerque metro area is horrendous and is getting worse. The governments both past and present continue to do nothing to improve the state to attract business and industry. The health care system in this state is also very poor both in quality of care and in choice of doctors. You know its bad when your primary care doc has his practice in another state. I travel to Phoenix for my annual check ups. If I could leave this state I would in a heartbeat. Maybe in 10 more years I’ll be able to put this crap town in the rearview.

    2. New Mexico has a very large “cash” economy relative to the “on the books.” The gross receipts tax on professionals encourages cash payment. Many in the large Hispanic population have an understandably negative attitude towards government in general, again favouring cash transactions.

      1. I have been in NM off and on my entire life. Living both rurally and in metro. The cash issue is real but is not any more popular amongst the Hispanics, the Natives, or the Caucasian Non-Hispanics. Your generalization is poorly considered and it has very little to do with government but with cash itself. It has been and is just a practical way to keep more of your money and not have to share with Big Brother. It is all about overhead and not necessarily attitude.

    3. Maryann,
      You didn’t mention that you will seek employment. Getting a good job here is double tough. Find a job here before you move. And yes, there is a correlation between social ills and poverty. But, when areas like many in New Mexico have historically bad economies communities adjust and develop mechanisms for dealing with those issues. Many areas across the country are struggling to meet these issues and have no means of dealing with them despite strong economies. I have found local and state politics are quite pragmatic in dealing with these issues. Although I am not convinced they are effective I see little evidence that other states or cities are more effective.

  5. look i’ve in in southern NM for a number of years and it’s where i wish to return. best damn place i can think of

  6. And they keep raising minimum wage. I think they should substantially raise the income, sales and property taxes. Because taxing yourselves into prosperity always works.

  7. NM is good…ONLY because of the weather. I lived there for 16 yrs, I never found a more corrupt atmosphere, they don’t call it the wild west for nothing…burglary, both home and vehicles are high, crimes unimaginable often fueled by drugs, in the workplace nepotism reigns. Its the land of Dollar Trees and Family Dollar stores. Beauty is there but struggles hard. The animals around you can KILL you, not like ur local squirrel or deer. The desert is healing but can become painstakingly boring as options to do something are limiting. Theres a zoo,not much to make mention of. The reservations dont really like white folks…but for ur $$ yes, the rest are drunk…should check out their fetal alcohol syndrome baby records. And the state runs rampant with C.E.O. embezzling millions from companies, without so much as a blink. Its a repressed state and no $$ innovations BECAUSE property taxes are so low. Truly the land of entrapment, because once you get in, the inexpensiveness of the place draws you, but then u cant afford to get out. Go only if a job is lined up…otherwise your better out. Matter of time b4 marijuana becomes legal, then everybody will be stoned…

    1. That’s very sad because I always love my visits there. I assume you’re referring to Abq which is inexcusable–comon’ Martinez! We visit the southwest–Hillsboro and Grant county areas and want to retire be left alone by the lib policies of Colorado.

  8. I moved to NM from NY in 2008. I understood that the hourly wage would be quite different. The wages paid in 2008 are about the same as what is being offered in 2017. I’m not talking about minimum wage. I’m talking about people with experience in administration, accounting, bookkeeping – at the management level. People go to college to gain the skills for these positions, and are offered an average of $14.00 per hour. Ridiculous. You get what you pay for, folks; people will move out of state if their unemployment pay is equal to the pay they’d receive from accepting work for skills they’ve spent time and money to gain. I mentioned this issue to placement people I meeting at some of the employment agencies in town, Most of them have advised me that too many companies are offering hourly wages that are far too low for a quality employee…these salaries would be fine for an entry-level individual. They try to work with the companies they hire for to increase the hourly wages – or salaries – being offered. One educated, skilled, experienced employee is surely worth the expense of on-boarding, via the revolving door, five who may or may not show up to work today!

    1. It is a complicated situation. Tough for businesses to deal with all the rules and regs, not a high quality/competitive workforce, and generous government benefits that allow many to sit on the sidelines and let their skills atrophy.

    2. Have you priced any LAND in New Mexico??? Like EVERYWHERE ELSE including Mississippi the LAND has EXTRAORDINARY List Prices. Unbelievable!! And NO WATER, no Grass, no Trees, no roads, no NOTHING!!

      Yet you can’t buy crap there. I ran the WHOLE state today in Lands of American. to pay $300,000 for a piece of dirt in New Mexico for a piece of land that won’t grow anything but rocks and rattlesnakes and you have to HAUL WATER to is insane.

      And then the Liberal Politicians there. New Mexico is in a DEAD HEAT with Mississippi for DEAD LAST in the nation. Boy, I bet the state declares Bankruptcy in just a few years ahead. BB

  9. If your not afraid of hard work and can adapt to a community that only likes those who can pull their own weight. ….. Then New Mexico is the place for you! It has four amazing seasons and additionally offers diverse scenery with plenty of things to do (if your not a couch potato!). I have lived in New Mexico as well as several other states. It continues to draw me back because it is by far the best state I have ever lived in or visited!

    1. You are kidding, right? “Pulls their own weight”? When 900,000 out of 2,000,000 are on Medicaid, others are not pulling their weight! 72% of babies born on Medicaid – jeesh! I repeat, this state is one national lab closure away from total failure.
      Democrats own the crime, bad medical care, drug problems, corruption, homelessness, and acceptance & encouragement of illegal immigration. Reading about children being abused is not a rare occurrence! Did I mention the hundreds of millions of $$ for the Spaceport and Rail runner!
      Two positives – great food and the best weather.

  10. New Mexico is run ala a Banana Republic. It is one National Lab closure away from total failure. The loony left controls all politics. More taxes, more spending – a constant mantra. 72% of babies born on Medicaid, one in four on welfare (many able-bodied). It is ironic that people leave failed countries for economic opportunities and come here and vote to remake NM into the place they left.
    The weather is great as is New Mexican food.

    1. That’s very sad because I always love my visits there. I assume you’re referring to Abq which is inexcusable–comon’ Martinez! We visit the southwest–Hillsboro and Grant county areas and want to retire be left alone by the lib policies of Colorado.

  11. Very enlightening comments. The argument between coal and solar/wind power is is a false one. The real competition for coal is gas and we have so much it will power us for a hundred years. It is clean efficient and easy to transport. We are on the way to exporting it to Europe and breaking Europe’s dependency on Russian gas. Coal doesn’t have a chance.

    1. We tend to agree that coal is on its way out the door, but that should (and will) be achieved via market forces and not government fiat. Natural gas is one step but the end-game is modular nuclear reactors. Those can and will provide a majority of our electricity someday if government gets out of the way.

  12. New Mexico suffers from a generational abuse of living on EBT and Medicaid. Those on welfare see it as a living and do nothing to change it. It is also one of the most corrupt states in the union. We have the highest per capita of MBAs and the highest concentration of millionaires as well. Kids drop out of high school (if they make it that far) because many don’t see the advantage of education because it is not stressed as a goal for children. Sandia National Labs and Los Alamos are a mainstay for employment. Our economy is very dependent on the federal government. Albuquerque is number 1 in auto thefts in the country, the state is 50th in education and you name the list, we are probably at the bottom of every one. There are plenty of things to do here, outside of Albuquerque. We have beautiful sunsets, hiking, ancient ruins, outdoor opera in Santa Fe, skiing, biking, white water rafting, lakes, rivers (although not as abundant as they are in the east). We have NM Tech at Socorro, UNM in Albuquerque and NMSU in Las Cruces as well as satellite campuses in most places. We have plenty of artists that live here, small farms and large orchards, vineyards, wineries and great food. We have a mix of everyone in New Mexico, good hardworking people and then the scumbags who seem to think drugs can make their world better. Scumbags are everywhere these days and it’s not getting better, anywhere. Cost of living is low, homes are priced from adobe dirt cheap to millions of dollars. Many can’t tolerate the elevation here. We have no huge professional sporting teams here; we have AAA Isotopes baseball, a pro soccer team and such. Biggest sporting draw in the state is the UNM Lobo college sports program. WE have the Pit at UNM which is consistently in the top 25 in drawing capacity crowds to support Lobo basketball. 4 beautiful seasons. Bash it all you want but New Mexico is a great place to live and like everywhere else there are pros and cons of doing so. My family has been here over 200 years and I know exactly why they chose to stay here.

    1. How do you change that? It’s so disgusting and inexcusable, and I (mostly) blame parents who don’t parent and push their kids to be better, but also the government and society who encourage the behavior without consequences. But then again, they’re the screwed up ones with their addictions, bad attitudes and having babies; breaks my heart, but also sickens me that these young humans won’t reach their potential. It’s so easy to have kids and have ‘society’ support them enabling the cycle of irresponsibility, neglect, and irresponsibility to expand. What do you do? Good grief.

    2. A lot of what you say of NM is true. However, you forgot what is in my opinion and experience the most costly to NM economics and culture. There are no jobs for a huge percentage of the locally educated population. That is the reason people use the “why get an education…” excuse. The reason why many of the educated leave to work elsewhere. The reason why in your words many who stay are “generational abusers”. If you already have money it is a wonderful place if you build strong fences but if you don’t (even if you have educated yourself) it is an amazingly difficult place to financially thrive.

  13. I worked as an Engineer for Los Alamos Labs for several years. I now live in Texas. Los Alamos was a great place to work but not a great place to live. Very remote and isolated and very expensive. Houses / Real Estate was totally over priced.

  14. Does anyone know what’s going on in Ruidosa, NM? I’ve been looking on Realtor.com off and on for a while and I was looking tonight and I’m in shock all the businesses that are selling out!! A lot of places I’ve loved to shop at or stay at while up there. There’s just too many businesses selling at one time for something not to be wrong???

    1. Before you get alarmed remember that NM is mostly small town (minus Albq, SF, Las Cruces..) and mostly small business. These businesses are usually run by its original entrepreneur and if the offspring don’t want anything to do with it then it closes. Small businesses in NM most often just provide the owner with a living wage and they open and close in every NM town everyday. I would mostly consider what kind of business, how long it has been in business, and who/what is their competition, has the market changed, and what is replacing them. One Walmart closes down 1/2 the small businesses in a small town. Look around the closures before you let the closures scare you.

    2. I think most of the revenue and jobs are a result of West Texas weekend type tourism. Ruidoso is where the Texans like to recreate. Another big loss for Ruidoso was the oil glut.. lower gas prices seemed to have a major affect on the Eastern NM and West Texas economy. The town doesn’t change much and will continue with revenues based mostly on tourism, it will heal as the oil business returns, even if it does not boom. The economy seems to move slowly here whether that be up or down. The land of entrapment is right – it is hard to leave a beautiful place where the living is easy and slow. it doesn’t take as much money to live here (in most areas) but you will not see much in the way of California type salaries either.

  15. I whole heartedly disagree with you, Pennsylvania Fox. It’s time to remove the rose colored glasses when it comes to describing the real New Mexico (N.M.)!
    New Mexico is truly the worst, mismanaged state of all. Hence, the high unemployment rate; the high DUIs; the low wages; the percent of people on welfare/SNAP; and the high dropout rate. This statement is a fact, based on online data, and the six challenging years I have lived in this deplorable state.
    Nepotism rules the nuclear, winded landscape. Most of the N.M. workforce relies on Federal, State, and Laboratory jobs. Without these jobs, this state will fold. Doubters: research this statement. It is yet another sad documented fact.
    A large majority of the state workforce acts as it they are “Entitled” to their job. Many know little to nothing regarding providing adequate customer service. However, I do see some improvement in this area. A large majority of state workers get ‘in’ because they are ‘related’ to a Martinez, Montoya, etc. One of the first questions asked on the N.M. state’s website to apply for a position is “Last Name.” They even have a ‘special’ box for their special question.
    I once had to deal with a county employee who got his ‘job’ because his father died; yet, he know nothing about his job function of providing building permits to tax payers. Really? Yes, this is true.
    Education and experience are not held in as high regard as they are in other states. There is no value in an education with many local native Hispanic population. I can say this because I am also Hispanic; yet, I value education and believe it is more important than who my relations are. I have never witnessed such illiterate dysfunction prior to living in N.M. New Mexico is a good fifteen years behind progressive states. If you like slowness, ineffectiveness, and are cool with getting subpar services for what you pay for, then this certainly the place for you!
    Some N.M. judges do not have law degrees and/or do not know the law. Yet, they are elected to decide cases that severely impact N.M. citizens’ lives. This is allowed because New Mexico is unable to attract and retain individuals with degrees, including attorneys. There is nothing here to attract degreed individuals. Why would they want to live in N.M.? Are you doubtful? Research this statement because it is again, another documented fact.
    New Mexico treats people convicted of a DUI(s) better than individuals who have valid repair disputes with their landlord and are taken to N.M. courts. It is a state where one can earn 20 plus DUIs, not be jailed, and still drive!
    N.M. has an online court case look up system. Individuals convicted of DUIs are more protected than those with minor offenses. This N.M. set-up applies to those individuals who are convicted of embezzling $11,000 from a N.M. non-profit. Her name is Michelle Lucero. She is no were to be found on the N.M. court case look-up system. They protect true criminals. N.M. laws are backwards and beyond dysfunctional.

  16. I made my first visit to New Mexico when I was about 10 years old. I’m now 74. I imagine I have made over 50 trips to New Mexico. I have been from Sunland to Raton, from Gallop to Roswell and never tire of the beauty and charm that New Mexico offers. I know of its government problems, its
    poverty problems, unemployment problems, but excuse me ,what state isn’t struggeling with something. Excluding Santa Fe property is priced in line. For various reasons I’ve never been able to move there ,but may yet some day. But for those who done like New Mexico, I fine with that, just leaves more room for me!

  17. Moved here two years ago, after living in Mexico for a few years. Originally from Wisconsin. My son was living here. Found the weather great, but cannot recommend anything else. As for culture, although the museums are wonderful and NM cuisine is great that’s about it. When I was looking for a book club might want to join to meet like-minded people, I called the library which responded with Book Club? Do you mean for children? They did have a children’s story time, but had not heard of an adult book discussion group! People are generally rude, clerks stand around talking and get upset if you ask them for help, in most stores. In Target when my daughter asked for help from a group of clerks that were standing around she was told: “In a minute, can’t you see we’re talking!” Driving is crazy, with a high number of accidents daily due to inattentive driving, texting, drugs, and alcohol. Sat evenings many busy highways set up highway stops and check every driver for alcohol, just as a routine, which I believe is an infraction of civil rights but seems to work.

    Yes, cost of living as opposed to Wisconsin is very low, real estate taxes are only a quarter of what I paid for the comparable property in Wisconsin. However, you get what you pay for, Wisconsin has a good school system. The Abq. drop out rate is the second highest in the country and the schools are rated just above Mississippi, which is the worst in the US. Political and business corruption is rampant as is child abuse and sexual abuse to children. Several horrific deaths of children reported lately related to mothers prostituting out their children to their drug partners. We have had three horrific child murders just this year due to parent drug use. Teachers make a pittance, many are not required to be licensed. Supt. of Schools found to have fake credentials as well as department head friends he hired. The landscape between subdivisions looks like one big Walmart parking lot with quick foods, dollar stores and gas stations marring the beautiful views of the mountains. Some neighborhoods are unliveable, but many nice subdivisions in outlying areas, for good prices, but check out the school systems in each area since they vary widely. As a trained psychologist who is an observer of human behavior, I can strongly state that this is a very sick environment. I would not want to raise children here unless you were in one of the nicer, more isolated subdivisons. If you are older, live in one of the nicer areas which have a more retired population, and are into the great outdoors you might consider it.

    1. I think I would not want to be you patient, Dr. B. I lived there 25 years, reared/educated my children there, and they are amazingly successful with colleges such as Amherst and law schools of Berkeley and Baylor on their diplomas. Granted, as a single mom, it was hard and I often worked two jobs to do it and we were probably considered “poor.” But we did what we decided to do and I am grateful I was in N.M. Poor would not be a descriptor now.

      After a few years absence, I am ready to go “home” and live out my retirement viewing the gorgeous sunsets and eating green chili. Your glass is not even HALF-empty! It’s drained. Perhaps the gloomy weather of Wisconsin is more suited to your personality. I suggest you return but…..well, as a psych you know…you always take yourself with you so it probably won’t work out any better

  18. Lots of information here, but one topic I haven’t seen that would be great to get some input on;
    I used to live in (and around) Catron county, from the late 90’s to 2007. Has anyone noticed the INSANE increase in larger land parcel prices? I know when I first moved up there from southeast Az. the average price on good country was about 4-500/acre for anything over a half section, with many properties with good wells, going for 350/acre. The cost per acre on larger ranches (deeded land not leased) was even less. I have been contemplating selling my business and retiring back to that area, but the prices have gone through the ceiling with many places the size and quality/location mentioned above fetching 1,000- 1,500/acre. What, besides “hunters” from other states is driving the rise in prices? I know the cattle prices have increased a lot since then, but most of these ranches demand an investment cost/rated animal unit that it would never be profitable. Is it just the out of state hunters with disposable income driving this or is this some type of bubble? What else, specifically in west central NM could be driving this increase? Land in eastern AZ has increased as well, but not as dramatically as their neighbor in NM. Would love to hear some thoughts.
    Thanks!

  19. I recently moved from New Mexico after living there many years.It was hard to leave because of the friends I’ve made over the years. As a business owner though, it was a challenge. I moved to the so.coast in CA where the economy is diverse and thriving. Although more expensive, there are many opportunities here.

    It seemed in the last few years especially just watching the economy, the only aspect that was growing in Albuquerque were more restaurants and retirement facilities being built. NM Is breathtakingly beautiful, but it can be quite a challenge for people in their later years to adjust to a mile high elevation. I think the suggestion was made to come and live here a few months before taking the plunge which is a great idea. The good thing is even know I’ve left, I can always come back to visit which I intend to.

    1. Thank you for your personal story. A lot of our research indicates that people are leaving California due to high taxes and onerous regulations, but it is also true as you say that California’s economy is more diversified. Certainly that is true although at some point if policies continue to worsen or the tech industry’s growth slows, we could see California’s situation worsen in a hurry.

  20. I just left New Mexico a couple months ago and moved to Seattle after a little over a decade of the worst era of my life. I have lived all over the U.S and grew up for awhile in Europe. New Mexico was by far the worst place I have ever lived.
    It scores low not just in a few categories but across the board. Dysfunction and laziness run unabashedly rampant like a cultural value they are proud of. The ignorance of most of the population is appalling. The attitudes of the general populace are arrogant while ineffectual and the driving is unnecessarily aggressive.
    Trying to raise a family and make good money is hard. Most people can’t get ahead and the habits and general world views that rub off on your kids are less than desirable.
    if you are at the end of your life or have low expectations, sure move here, otherwise you will be tormented with a monotonous empty landscape, poverty, corrupt officials and mostly vapid people.

  21. New mexico has the worst governor in our history. methlabs heroin panhandelers crack heads and violence run in every part of Albuquerque. This is no place to raise a family or plan a move we have the worst schools and gpa In the country . The only way to help this state is to legalize marijuana and the tax money would pull us out of our deficit in 5 years.

  22. I’m so glad I just bought a small piece of land in New Mexico. I won’t be able to move soon enough for my liking.
    Unfortunately it sounds like most of the people who moved here are for whatever reason are unhappy. They sound like they might not be happy anywhere.

    I’ve met a lot of the local people and found them happy, charming, and very helpful anytime I’ve asked. Perhaps that’s because I’m probably just like them. Not much formal education, not much money and more than a little rough around the edges.
    Mostly been working poor all my life and didn’t have the opportunity to go to college. I’ve had a small one man business for thirty years and have managed to pay the bills. I don’t think the government in NM is any worse than most anywhere else. Crime is crime, watch your back.

    For all those people who hate the place so much I’m sorry I can’t offer you a place that you might be happier.
    Good luck, I’m not sure you’ll ever find that place. Happy starts with being happy with what you have.

    I’m thrilled to be the new face in a place that has been lived in for going on 350yrs. If the local people are standoffish for a bit, that’s ok. They’ve had good reason to be distrustful of people, particularly white anglos.
    I know I’m not the kind of people they don’t trust and don’t like. Im just like them, if a bit more pale.
    Happy with what little I’ve got.
    I call it the joy of enough.

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