In October 2008, an article in Business Week named Albuquerque one of the best cities to ride out a recession in. While the recession HAS hit us here in the Duke City, Albuquerque remains one of the best places to live in America right now, and I am pretty sure that some of the other cities on that list are not doing nearly as well.
Albuquerque has never really ridden the wave of the highs or the lows of the American Economic roller coaster, and I have my ideas about why this is so. The major /employers/industries in Albuquerque are:
US Government (Sandia National Labs), and all the support companies contracted at SNL
Kirtland Airforce Base
University of New Mexico
UNM Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital, VA Hospital, Albuquerque Regional Medical Center Hospital, Woman’s Hospital, Carrie Tingly Children’s Hospital and the Heart Hospital…to name most of them, and all their support services.
The above industries are all kind of recession proof. The US Government and Air Force are NOT going anywhere soon. As for Health Care and Communications – people don’t stop getting sick, or using their phones, and they have to be really bad off to give up their computers, and as long as there are PCs and Windoze, there will always be the need to replace your computer every few years or less, so Intel is safe for a while until they move all their jobs overseas. If you can’t get a job – get a loan and a grant and go back to school. And stay there indefinitely.
Albuquerque wages are low compared to the rest of the country, with NM being 43rd in Income per capita, but we don’t have the same individual monetary needs the rest of the country has.
• Food is priced right.
• Housing is on the low end of normal.
• Resident students can get a higher education for cheap or nothing but the cost of books.
• The weather is not extreme, as spring and autumn are the long seasons and the summers and winters are relatively short, so heating and cooling costs are better balanced and lower than the rest of the areas that experience extreme cold or hot weather.
• We are not prone to any natural disasters, except maybe drought, but we have been dealing with water conservation for so long that it comes natural to most residents. The rest of America is struggling with a dying lawn, and we have been Xeriscaping with non-thirsty native plants for decades. By the way – a little known fact is that the Rio Grande is one of the largest underground rivers in North America. Really! So with proper conservation, water can last. Here are some interesting statistics for Albuquerque and New Mexico.
population in 2006 (in city 507,789
greater Albuquerque 766,016
Median household income, 2006, est.: $ 43,021
Average home price, 2007: $208,000
Temperatures: July, 33-18 C (92-65 F); Jan., 8-4.7 C(47-23 F)
Sunny days: 304
New Mexico Stats
Population, 2008 estimate 1,984,356
Median household income, 2007 $41,509
Federal spending, 2008 $23,846,1091
Land area, 2000 (square miles) 121,355.53
Persons per square mile, 2000 15.0 (US is 79.9)
In Oct 2008 the unemployment rate in NM was 4.8%. In November 2009 it was 7.8% (19th in the US). I suppose that is a really large leap, but not too bad when the National average is 10%, and our worst state, Michigan is at 14.7%. Ouch, Michigan. I bet some of you are headed to New Mexico. I guess Albuquerque is an ok place to ride out the recession after all.
The middle picture looks west through downtown Albuquerque, and has two buildings with red pyramid tops. They can also be seen in the last photo, (by Marble Street Studios), at the bottom of this post, looking east from the river.
I know something about Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!