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Income: Lagging peer states

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By Harold Morgon

Staying the slow-growth course was the New Mexico population and income story for 2011. A guess is that slowness will be the 2012 story, too, what with loss of 1,500 jobs in May after nine months of ever so slight year-over-year gains.
The New Mexico economic pattern is performance better than some states but worse than what might be called our peers — Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma. Real gross domestic product is an example. Real GDP, says the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, is income plus production costs.
During 2011, New Mexico GDP grew 0.2 percent, as best as I can see from the computer map. That’s 41st nationally, but one-fifth the performance of the next lowest peer state, Oklahoma.
When it comes to low incomes, we are competitive with our peers. In this contest, Texas has the advantage being a large state with small counties. During 2010 Texas placed 18 counties among the 250 lowest per capita income counties out of 3,113 counties in the nation. New Mexico tied Arizona with three counties among the low 250, followed by Colorado with four and Utah with six. Crowley County, Colorado, east of Pueblo, claimed the nation’s lowest income with $16,299 per capita.


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