In the last seven years, we’ve made huge strides in creating a healthier economy and a better business climate, which has allowed us to help private sector businesses create new jobs in New Mexico. This commitment to economic development has grown and diversified New Mexico’s economy, and the numbers bear that out.
Under the leadership of Gov. Susana Martinez, we have prioritized and strengthened JTIP and LEDA – two crucial economic development tools, and we’ve launched new ones like the Catalyst Fund, to grow New Mexico companies. These tools strengthen our workforce and build the business infrastructure. They expand New Mexico’s competitiveness to recruit job creators to the state, and they support the job-creating expansions of existing New Mexican companies. Under Gov. Martinez, we’ve also cut taxes and fees 57 times, slashed red tape and invested in critical infrastructure.
These tools and reforms have helped us attract new job creators like Facebook, Safelite, Keter Plastic, Union Pacific and many more to our state, while at the same time helping our local companies like Lavu, Descartes Labs, T or C Brewing, USA Beef and many more grow and thrive. And, since 2011, we’ve been able to lower our unemployment rate from 7.7 percent to 5.1 percent. This improvement has not been limited to a single employment sector but has been supported by job growth across a diverse array of industries.
As we all know, the oil and gas industry is critical to our economy and our state budget – and the industry has recently begun to rebound. But the growth of our economy can’t be attributed to this sector alone. Since 2011, the oil and gas industry has created 1,000 new jobs. At the same time, New Mexico has added 50,000 new private sector jobs. The job growth in oil and gas, while meaningful and a boon to our state, only accounts for one fiftieth of our overall private sector job creation.
What we’ve seen over the last seven years is new jobs across a variety of industries. Construction has gained 5,300 new jobs since 2011 – with more than 1,000 at the Facebook Data Center alone! Leisure and hospitality jobs have increased by nearly 20,000 – a testament to the burgeoning brewery industry, the success of the New Mexico True initiative and all of the hard work done to promote New Mexico as a top-tier tourist destination. As well, the manufacturing, business and professional services, and transportation sectors have all seen significant job growth.
All of this success comes in the face of several challenges: the recession, federal sequestration, and the oil and gas crash. And at the same time, we’ve seen New Mexico’s largest private sector employer, Intel, consistently drawing down employment. In the face of these headwinds we’ve grown New Mexico’s economy and created tens of thousands of new jobs for New Mexicans. It’s more critical than ever that we continue down the path of success.
We will keep up our relentless effort to attract new employers to New Mexico and help our local job creators expand. If we want to build on our recent growth, we must continue to support our vital economic development tools and the reforms that have been crucial to our recent success.
When we create jobs and grow our economy, we create the foundation for success.