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'New normal' of lower national growth to hurt New Mexico

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By Harold Morgon

A “new normal” of lower national economic growth appears ahead. That’s bad news here because our economy, nearly always a mediocre performer, depends substantially on what happens nationally.
This bit of gloom came from Tom Siems, senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Siems and other Dallas Fed wizards came to New Mexico State University Oct. 18 for a forecasting event led by the Fed’s El Paso branch.
Gross domestic product growth has averaged 1.9 percent since around 2000, Siems said. Previous average growth rates were 3.2 percent for about 30 years and 4.2 percent for the 20 years after World War II.
For New Mexico, the Dallas Fed’s Crossroads publication observed a year ago, the state’s “economic fate is subject to much larger external forces, such as the influence of emerging markets on commodity prices; oil and natural gas markets and the U.S. economy.”
Yet another state performance ranking provides further context, with New Mexico performs pitifully. On the recently released 16-factor “Opportunity Index,” we beat only Mississippi and Nevada. (opportunityindex.org.) The index, which seeks to measure economic mobility, was released Oct. 21 by Opportunity Nation, a network of about 250 nonprofit, business and other organizations.


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