New Mexico’s phenomenal growth in export activity, frequently cited as a bright spot in the state’s slow economic recovery, has translated into something of a small job engine as well, according to a report in the state’s latest Labor Market Review.
Jobs supported by exports of goods more than doubled from 7,986 in 2009 to 16, 546 in 2014, which was a five-year period when overall employment in the state was down by just less than 1 percent. The growth has been sustained, with export-related jobs increasing by 36 percent or 4,349 from 2013 to 2014, it says.
“This over-the-year (percentage) growth rate was the second highest in the country, after Hawaii,” says the report by Rachel Moskowitz of the Department of Workforce Solutions.
The growth has resulted in jobs from exporting goods increasing in New Mexico from just under 1 percent of the total workforce in 2009 to a solid 2 percent in 2014, according to a Journal analysis of labor data.
New Mexico’s growth in export-related employment reflects a trend throughout the Southwest in 2009-14, although its 107.2 percent increase was much bigger than increases of 17.2 percent in Arizona, 18.4 percent in Colorado, 25.5 percent in Oklahoma and 2.9 percent in Texas. The average nationwide was 2.7 percent.
Export-related employment in Utah ran counter to the trend, falling 3.2 percent in 2009-14.
New Mexico’s phenomenal growth rate stems from the fact its export-related employment is comparatively small. The state’s 8,560 jobs gained in 2009-14 compares to 250,724 in Texas, 13,670 in Arizona, 8,007 in Oklahoma and 6,783 in Colorado.
In addition, New Mexico’s export data is likely pumped up by its geographical location on the border with Mexico, where 44.3 percent of the state’s exports were shipped in August of this year, and the way that exported goods are classified.
“The state of origin is determined by where the merchandise starts its export journey, not where the commodity was produced,” the state report says.
“For example, exports produced in other states but consolidated for shipment in New Mexico will be counted as originating from New Mexico, even though they were not produced in New Mexico,” it says.