Eddy, Sandoval, and Lea counties are leading the state in a number of economic growth indicators that measure incoming investments, according to new data from SmartAsset, a financial technology company.
The report ranked counties in New Mexico by incoming investments in business, real estate, government and the local economy as a whole based on business establishment growth, GDP growth, new building permits and municipal bond investment.
Eddy County led the state with 10.3% in business growth, which was measured by the change in the number of businesses established in each location over a 2-year period. In Lea County, business growth was 3.3% and in Sandoval it was 3.0%.
In real estate growth, Sandoval County led the state with 16.3 new building permits per 1,000 homes. Eddy and Lea counties were second and third, respectively, with 12.3 and 9.1 new building permits per 1,000 homes. New home construction far outpaced the state average, which was 3.3 permits per 1,000 homes.
Looking at the three counties’ gross domestic product by using inflation-adjusted real growth in the local economy, Lea County grew by $153 million, Sandoval County by $150 million, and Eddy County by $127 million. The counties with the most GDP growth are also the largest by population: Bernalillo ($1.4 billion), Santa Fe ($414 million) and Doña Ana ($314 million).
According to these measures, Sandoval County has been among the top counties for incoming investment in New Mexico since at least 2015. Eddy and Lea counties’ places in the top three for 2018 are a testament to the energy boom happening in the Permian Basin. Neither county was in the top five in 2015.
Oil and gas production in New Mexico has surged recently (including a 50% increase in just one year), most of which took place in and around Eddy and Lea counties, propelling them up the list. The benefits of this are being felt statewide. Unemployment is at a ten-year low and we may be on track for a $2 billion budget surplus that can be invested in schools, infrastructure and other services for state residents.