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A Tale of Two Policy Models

Job-creation in the region is surging again — excluding California and New Mexico, of course.

There are dozens of ways to measure the health of a state economy. One of the Southwest Public Policy Institute’s favorites is to follow the six-month trend in employment. Is the total number of jobs rising, falling or treading water? Using federal data, we track all eight states of the American Southwest.

A few months ago, there was cause for worry. Colorado had started to lose jobs. Ditto California, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Texas and Arizona were in danger of joining the list of laggards.

But there’s good news — yesterday’s release of December data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the overall trend is improving. Arizona’s growth rate has picked up, for three months in a row. Utah’s job-creation is back to its usual strength. Texas is making a solid rebound. Colorado’s dip has slowed to a crawl. And Oklahoma is growing again.

Nevada continues to be a concern, but the Silver State remains in positive territory. Sadly, the same can’t be said for California and New Mexico. Each continues to shed jobs — for five months in a row, now.

Think it’s a coincidence, that the region’s bluest states are least able to generate employment opportunities for their residents?

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