Historically a ranching and mining state, New Mexico’s natural resources still contribute significantly to its economy. Although the mining sector employs a small percentage of the total workforce, the oil and gas industry contributes over $2 billion annually to the state in taxes and other revenue. New Mexico is also the leading producer of potash in the country and has significant uranium resources.
In the 1940s the Manhattan project at Los Alamos and the establishment of Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque in 1948 began what is now a significant presence of federal investment in the state (both are funded by the Department of Energy), which is also home to three Air Force Bases. Kirtland AFB, in Albuquerque, includes the Air Force Research Laboratory. Employment at Los Alamos and Sandia is primarily reflected in the Professional, Scientific & Technical Services sector because they are both managed by private corporations. New Mexico receives roughly $6 billion in federal research funding, but employment has fluctuated over the years.
The data provided in this section include: business statistics, employment and wage trends, gross state product by industry, quarterly gross receipts, and personal income by source and earnings by industry for the state and counties.
Since the economic downturn of 2007, New Mexico has been on the path to economic recovery. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), between 2007 and 2017, GDP by current dollars in New Mexico increased by 20%. In 2017, the largest industry in New Mexico was government and government enterprises. This industry accounted for 22.8 percent of New Mexico GDP and had a 1.7 percent real decline. The second largest industry was finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing, which accounted for 16.9 percent of New Mexico GDP and had 0.7 percent real growth. The largest contributor to real GDP growth in New Mexico was mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction. This industry accounted for 0.94 percentage point of the total growth in real GDP. The second largest contributor was professional and business services. This industry accounted for 0.36 percentage point of the total growth in real GDP.
The line graph above shows the yearly average in total nonfarm, private and federal government employment since 2008. In 2010, federal government employment growth reached its peak of about 33,700 after which it starting decline and flattening out from 2015 to 2017. Total nonfarm employment growth has been on a steady incline since 2009. The 2017 average was close to 831,000 almost to the 2008 level of 846,8000. The private sector, just like total nonfarm, has followed a similar growth pattern and is almost at 2008 levels. The 2017 total private sector has an employment level of 644,000 compared to the 649,200 level of 2008.
The annual unemployment rate in 2017 was 6.2%, down from 6.7% in 2016. Since the beginning of 2008, the unemployment rate had been increasing until 2010 where it reached its peak at 8.1% and has been falling since then, reaching 4.8% in August 2018.
Annual U.S. Census data shows that in 2016 there were about 122,000 nonemployer businesses in New Mexico with an annual average of $39,356 in receipts (sales). New Mexico businesses with paid employees had 43,771 establishments, employing 628,723 people with a total annual payroll of $25 billion in that same year. The retail trade sector made up roughly 15% of the total establishments in New Mexico. The healthcare and social assistance sector employed the highest number of people (121,840 people) generating the highest total annual payroll in New Mexico – 21% of total annual payroll in New Mexico.