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Home / Articles / News / Local News /  Jobs for Oil
INDICATORS

Jobs for Oil

Indicators: Jan. 26

January 26, 2011, 2:00 am

2.2% more people moved into than out of Texas in 2010, according to migration data collected by U-Haul.

0.8% more people moved out of than into New Mexico in 2010, compared with 0.2% in 2009.

" As I recently told my friend, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, New Mexico is coming to take back our jobs."—Gov. Susana Martinez in a Jan. 7 statement promoting a locomotive fuel tax exemption to lure Texas train facilities into New Mexico

New Mexico is bleeding jobs, and they’re all going to Texas—at least, that’s the refrain from Gov. Susana Martinez’ office.


“It’s very clear that energy-related jobs have been migrating away from the state of New Mexico,” former astronaut and US Sen. Harrison Schmitt said at a Jan. 6 press conference announcing his nomination as cabinet secretary for New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. “It’s time to make sure that, in a rational way, those jobs come back.” 


In her State of the State address on Jan. 18, Martinez attributed the shift to Pit Rule 17, a 2008 regulation that sets requirements to limit pollution from oil and gas operations, and to a greenhouse gas emissions cap that has not yet gone into effect.


There’s correlation aplenty. The pit rule was signed in May 2008, mere months before the stock market crash in September. According to state Department of Workforce Solutions data, oil- and gas-related jobs in New Mexico peaked in the fourth quarter of 2008 and have been declining since.


But many other factors—nationwide employment, oil prices, and the number of active drill rigs and oil and gas jobs available in the US, to name a few—also have seen slumps in the past three years.


“Obviously the Pit Rule did not cause the global drop in oil and gas prices,” former EMNRD Secretary Joanna Prukop writes in a January 2010 guest column in the Albuquerque Journal.


According to DWS data, the number of oil and gas jobs in New Mexico didn’t begin to decline until the first quarter of 2009 and, even at its peak, accounted for less than 1 percent of the state’s employment, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Still, U-Haul data—an imperfect measure of migration, but one of the few available—shows that, in 2010, more people moved out of New Mexico than in 2009. For Texas, the reverse is true.


Whether a 2008 regulation or a 2010 election is to blame remains unclear.

 

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