After examining Commerce Department data, The Wall Street Journal found that economic growth “slowed in more than half of the states in the U.S. last year.” “[F]alling farm incomes, which were hit by tumbling crop prices” played a role, as did a “big slowdown for the oil and coal industries.”
You know where this is headed. Not only was New Mexico one of the 28 states with slumping GDP growth, it was the worst performer in our region. Utah’s growth accelerated, while oil-and-gas-dependent Texas held fast at 2014’s 3.8 percent. Colorado slightly declined, Arizona’s rate was cut in half, and Oklahoma fell by 61 percent. Our dip was a depressing 73 percent — from 2.6 percent to 0.7 percent:
Looking at the whole country, the Land of Enchantment ranked fifth from the bottom. North Dakota’s contraction made ours look tame. The drop in oil prices sent the Peace Garden State’s GDP growth plunging by 135 percent, meaning its economy actually shrank. (Only one other state, Alaska, did the same. But its economy shrank so badly in 2014 that 2015 looked good by comparison.) Vermont was next (87 percent growth decline), followed by Kansas (83 percent) and West Virginia (86 percent).
A group of “experts,” the Albuquerque Journal recently reported, will soon release recommendations to revamp economic development in New Mexico, “after which leaders will decide which ones to pursue, whether through the Legislature or other levels of government, or in the private sector.” Change can’t come soon enough.