ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In recent years, the economic development conversation in New Mexico has focused on attracting new business to the state and creating a vibrant startup community here.
But one of the top economists in the state says officials often overlook a crucial key to New Mexico’s recovery.
“Where we really lag behind neighboring states is expanding our existing businesses to where they employ 250 to 500 people,” said Jeffrey Mitchell, director of the Bureau of Business & Economic Research (BBER) at the
University of New Mexico. “We’re actually doing a pretty good job of creating new jobs by new businesses, which is where most of our attention is.”
Mitchell made the remarks at a economic data conference hosted by BBER. He said understanding this trend has significant implications for the way New Mexico handles economic development.
Businesses here, said Mitchell, open at a rate commensurate with Colorado, Arizona, California and Texas. The state begins to diverge from its neighbors, however, once a business starts to grow.
“We create businesses, they get to five employees or so, they need second or third round capital, so what do they do?” said Mitchell. “They move to San Diego or Boston.”