New Mexico Continues to Pump Out Good Economic News

June 26, 2019

Job creation, personal income, and state revenues are all trending in the right direction in New Mexico.

Three recent reports show that our state is on a path toward long-term prosperity, thanks in large part to the responsible development of our vast oil and natural gas resources.

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) announced Tuesday that the job growth rate in New Mexico was higher than the national average between May 2018 and May 2019. New Mexico added 15,900 non-agriculture jobs during that time, a 1.9% growth rate compared to 1.5% nationally.

“Too often New Mexico is ranked 49th or 50th in the good things our country measures, but this growth, particularly in the private sector, shows New Mexico is headed in the right direction and open for business,” NMDWS Secretary Bill McCamley said. “If you work hard and learn the right skills, you don’t have to give up your chile and move away for a job…You can earn a great salary here while staying in our friendly, beautiful communities.”

New Mexico is also seeing gains above the national average in personal income, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). In the first quarter of 2019, personal income in New Mexico increased 5.1% compared to the national average of 3.4%.

This made New Mexico the fifth fastest growing state for income in the nation during that quarter. According to the BEA, farming was the leading contributor to the earnings increase, followed by mining, which includes oil and gas.

Finally, revenue numbers released by the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) show that our historic budget surplus may be even bigger than we previously thought.

The Albuquerque Journal reported:

New Mexico’s budget windfall could be even larger than expected, as an oil production boom in southeastern New Mexico shows no signs of slowing down.

Total state revenue collections were nearly $290 million above projected levels through March, according to a Legislative Finance Committee revenue tracking report released Monday.

In addition, a rainy day fund created in 2017 was on track to receive at least $80 million – with several months still remaining in the state’s budget year.

The state was already expecting a $1.2 billion budget surplus for the fiscal year that ends Sunday, but the latest LFC revenue tracking report suggests the final surplus figure will likely end up being even larger than that.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, state Senator John Arthur Smith (D), who chairs the Legislative Finance Committee, said legislators could approve an income tax rebate for New Mexicans due to the incredible revenues flowing to the state from oil and gas.

“We knew that revenues were going to be astronomically high,” Sen. Smith said. “Trying to spend it in a responsible fashion that gets results will be the challenge for the next legislative session.”

“‘The latest revenue report reflects more good news for the people of New Mexico. Last session, we launched our moonshot for education, invested in bricks-and-mortar projects for communities all over the state, and laid the foundation for a more secure economy,” House Speaker Brian Egolf (D) said in a statement. “With revenue coming in higher than projected this year, I will work with my colleagues in the House and Senate and with our Governor to continue our education moonshot and other needed projects.”

Energy development in the Permian and San Juan basins is continuing to generate the financial resources we need to invest in our schools, public safety, roads, and broadband infrastructure all across New Mexico. These new revenue numbers show that the economic opportunity we have as a state is even greater than we thought.

On top of the new jobs being created, personal income growth, and rising state revenue numbers, several high profile announcements – such as NBCUniversal opening a new film studio in Albuquerque, ExxonMobil generating 4,100 direct jobs annually for the next forty years, and state trust lands producing record revenues – demonstrate that New Mexico has turned the corner and heading toward sustained economic prosperity.