Kirtland base helped boost local economy by over $4B - Albuquerque Journal

Kirtland base helped boost local economy by over $4B

Kirtland Air Force Base’s Wyoming gate. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Kirtland Air Force Base accounted for about 10% of the greater Albuquerque metro area’s entire economy in the 2020 fiscal year, base commander Col. Jason Vattioni announced Monday.

Vattioni revealed the base’s 2020 Economic Impact Statement, which is done biennially, during the Kirtland Partnership Committee’s annual breakfast Monday morning.

All told, KAFB contributed about $4.6 billion to the local economy in the 2020 fiscal year, which was from Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020. That marked a slight increase from $4.5 billion in the 2018 fiscal year.

More than 23,000 work on KAFB and the base’s annual payroll is about $2.3 billion, according to the economic analysis. Of those employees, about 3,500 are military. So the vast majority of people who work on base are civilians.

The Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratories account for about 12,700 of those employees and about $1.4 billion in payroll.

“The presence of Kirtland and the professionals employed on the base have a big influence on the Albuquerque metro area,” Vattioni said. “These employees buy homes, pay taxes, and support local businesses, generating billions of dollars in local economic impact.”

Vattioni said that the KAFB workforce grew by about 400 employees in the last two years. There are plans to add about 2,000 jobs in the coming years.

Kirtland – the fifth-largest Air Force Base in the country – accounts for about 13% of jobs in the Albuquerque area.

KAFB also reported about $960 million in local expenditures in the 2020 fiscal year. The impact statement also said that the base entered into $287 million in contracts with businesses owned by women, minorities or veterans.

The total economic footprint of KAFB is about $7.4 billion nationally, so more than half of that impact is felt locally, Vattioni said.

Brad Steward, the chairman of the KPC’s board of directors, said officials are working to improve reciprocal licenses for lawyers and other professions in order to make New Mexico more appealing to families considering relocating here for work at Kirtland. He asked those in attendance to continue to advocate for such policies on behalf of the base.

“These numbers are massive,” he said of the base’s economic impact. “It’s phenomenal.”

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