May 9, 2014. Retrieved online May 12, 2014 from Brook Stockberger, Las Cruces Bulletin
Erickson: Las Cruces jobs going up
[Excerpts below reprinted with permission: Read the complete Las Cruces Bulletin article]
Despite the fact unemployment rose in March in the Las Cruces area, employment has climbed.
How is that possible?
New Mexico State University economist Chris Erickson explains that more people are coming back from their literal and figurative couches.
“There are people who’ve been out of the workforce who are coming back into the workforce,” Erickson said when he spoke at the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance’s monthly luncheon Tuesday, May 6, at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces. “There were people sitting at home who wanted jobs but figured it was not worth trying.”
According to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the unemployment rate in Doña Ana County jumped from 7.4 percent in February to 7.7 percent in March.
For the past six years, though, since the economy fell off a cliff in 2008, the job growth stands at just 1.6 percent for the Las Cruces area.
Minimum wage debate
Erickson said he supports an increase in the minimum wage, but barely.
“The minimum wage raise is not a slam dunk (to improve the economy),” he said. “It’s a really close call.”
Erickson said what tipped him to the side of an increase is the chance to shift the burden of paying for some programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – which helps low-income individuals and families – and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
“Small business will lose market share,” Erickson said.
He also admitted builders could be adversely affected.
On the way
Kiel Hoffman with Pioneer Bank and the chairman of the board of directors for MVEDA, said good employment news could be released in about a month.
He said there could be three announcements about more jobs being created in the area.