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Consumer spending shows resiliency in many New Mexico counties


A report from the New Mexico Economic Development Department (NMEDD) shows that New Mexico “might be more resilient than first expected,” Deputy NMEDD Sec. Jon Clark said, despite the impact of COVID-19. While consumer spending as shown through gross receipts dipped in many counties during the last quarter of FY19 (which ended June 30), it remained steadier over the 12-month fiscal year, Clark said.

“We know accommodations and food services, as well as arts and entertainment, have really suffered, but construction has remained robust, and not just in the counties with energy production,” Clark said.

Clark said there is still a great deal of uncertainty because so much of the consumer and business spending was boosted by emergency federal stimulus to unemployed workers, families and business owners from U.S. Small Business Administration loans.

The decline in federal stimulus money for the unemployed means $40 million less a week in available spending from state residents, he said. "The reports show that New Mexico can climb back out of the hole and we don't have to have a deep recession," Clark said. "But we are going to need a little continuing federal support until businesses can fully reopen."

Overall matched gross receipts tax (GRT) statewide declined two percent in the quarter, with food and accommodation seeing a 31 percent statewide decline and arts and entertainment dropping 68 percent, the report said. GRT for retail trade, including some online sales, increased 11 percent statewide in the quarter. Construction GRT statewide was 28 percent higher in the quarter.

The County Reports project is an NMEDD initiative to offer more comprehensive data about spending, unemployment and wages to local communities, NMEDD Sec. Alicia J. Keyes said.

The most recent data covers the last three months of fiscal year 2020 – April, May and June. Clark said that the latest information is aggregated from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, NMEDD and the New Mexico departments of Taxation and Revenue Department and Workforce Solutions.

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Construction industry drives county increase in gross receipts

Doña Ana County saw a decrease of $11.9 million (one percent) in its matched taxable gross receipts from the third to the fourth quarter of FY20, the New Mexico Economic Development Department (NMEDD) said in an August report. The county saw a $51.7 million (five percent) increase in the FY20 fourth quarter as compared to the same three months in FY19, NMEDD said.

The county’s construction industry did particularly well in the FY20 final quarter, the report said, with a growth of $81.6 million over the fourth quarter of FY19. The accommodation and food services industry saw the largest decline, dropping by $23.3 million when the final quarters of FY20 and FY19 were compared.

The arts entertainment/recreation industry saw the largest percent change in Q4 FY20, declining by 81 percent ($6.3 million).

The unclassified establishments industry saw a 76 percent decrease in the fourth quarter, NMEDD said. This decrease is not necessarily related to the negative impacts of COVID-19, the report said, and may be due to the correction of classification errors by the businesses in the industry.

Annual gross receipts tax (GRT) revenue collections saw a 13 percent increase from FY19 to FY20 in the county, with FY20 totaling $45.4 million. Quarterly GRT collections saw a two percent decrease from the third to the fourth quarter of FY20. The fourth quarter saw an increase of 10 percent, equaling a growth of $990,000 over the same quarter in FY19.

Among metropolitan areas of New Mexico, Doña Ana County (Las Cruces) showed a five percent GRT increase in the fourth quarter of FY20, NMEDD said. Sandoval County (Rio Rancho) showed an increase of 37 percent, while Santa Fe County (City of Santa Fe) was down 16 percent and Bernalillo County (Albuquerque) was down six percent.