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NM construction growth among top in nation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico’s year-long construction boom has pushed the state to top national rankings for employment growth in the industry.

The state’s 9.7 percent seasonally adjusted increase in construction jobs between January of this year and the same month a year ago was tied with Nevada for No. 3 in the nation, according to the Associated General Contractors.

The top two states for percentage growth over that period were West Virginia, at 14 percent, followed by California at 9.8 percent, the contractors’ association said.

Among the reasons for the New Mexico boom is the continuing work on the Facebook project in Los Lunas, where the social media giant is building a data center. The company announced in November that it was tripling the original size of the project and would build a total of six buildings.

Facebook, which is investing more than $1 billion in the center, said that as of September, 650 workers were on site daily and that construction crews would be there into 2023.

Also boosting the numbers is the comeback of the oil and gas industry, with activity booming in the Permian Basin in West Texas and eastern New Mexico. That affects the demand for construction work to accommodate the industry and its workers.

And health care continues to grow, with a demand for new clinics and other types of medical facilities.

After a long slump and stagnating employment figures, construction jobs in New Mexico began to steadily rise in November 2017, according to figures from the state Department of Workforce Solutions.