LCSN: Jobs on the horizon? Experts see employment trend reversing, slowly

January 7, 2010. Retrieved online January 10 from Brook Stockberger, Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — Are you tired of the bleak economic news? If a variety of experts are to be believed, there could be some light at the end of the job creation tunnel in 2011, both nationally and locally.

Let’s take a peek at some of what is being said:

  • “We’re looking at some leading indicators on employment, and they’re all flashing green lights,” said Bernard Baumohl of the Economic Outlook Group in New Jersey.
  • “Forecasters generally underestimate the strength of a recovery once it is underway,” said Bill Cheney, chief economist for Boston-based Manulife Asset Management, who is forecasting 2.5 million to 3 million new jobs this year.
  • “It has been coming. When we came back (from holiday break) there were 50 postings (for jobs),” said Rosa De La Torre Burmeister, career services coordinator at Doña Ana Community College.

A report last week from payroll processing company ADP found that private companies added 297,000 jobs last month, nearly three times as many as analysts had forecast.

Cassandra Thomas with the Las Cruces Workforce Connection office said she believes the slow, steady climb of the employment rate will be noticed this year.

“I do think it’ll be a little better,” Thomas said. “(Supermarket chain) Pro’s Ranch Market could create about 300 jobs, that’ll be very good.”

Jim Peach, economist and professor at New Mexico State University, said that he expects the national economy to show signs of life because he expects the gross domestic product to grow more than expected and automobile sales to improve. An improvement in the real estate industry could be around the bend as well. And, as we know, if homes are selling elsewhere, they are being bought by retirees and others who want to move to southern New Mexico.

“I think real estate could get better,” he said. “We’re probably close to the bottom on housing.”

But how soon will an improving outlook translate into jobs for the unemployed and underemployed people of Doña Ana County? The answer seems to be: Look for a few rays of light between the trees, but don’t expect job openings to come back on the market in a fast-and-furious pace anytime soon.

The recession started later here, but might take a little longer to shake off, although, as Peach points out, the Las Cruces area was never hit has hard.

“We’re likely to see modest growth in employment for the first time since ’08,” Peach said. “New Mexico has, as in many things, lagged behind the nation. We started losing jobs in New Mexico after the nation started losing jobs.”

Read the Las Cruces Sun-News article.


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