Workforce Profile

New Mexico has the most productive workforce in the U.S. According to the 2014 State New Economy Index New Mexico is ranked first in manufacturing value added.

In November 2016 the total labor force stood at 933,817, with 59,648 total unemployed workers.  New Mexico's labor force continues to expand.

  • New Mexico is a young state. Over one-third of the state’s population is under the age of 25, a greater share than the U.S. and most neighboring states.
  • In the 2014 State New Economy Index, New Mexico ranked ninth in high-tech jobs - specifically, employment in the electronics manufacturing, software and computer-related services, telecommunications, and biomedical industries.
  • In 2012 New Mexico ranked second in number of technical workers as a percent of all occupations (a 143% higher concentration of technical workers than the U.S. as a whole) and seventh in the number of engineers as a percent of all occupations (a 128% higher concentration of engineers than the U.S. as a whole) according to the National Science Foundation.

From 2010 to 2016, the total population grew by 1.1% from 2.059 million to 2.081 million people and is projected to grow to 2.3 million by 2020, according to the UNM BBER Population Projections. There are nearly 100,000 students enrolled in grades 9 through 12 in the state, and more than 131,000 enrolled in post-secondary institutions here, ensuring a pipeline of new workers.

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' occupational employment statistics, New Mexico’s average annual wage rate in May 2015 was 89.3% of the national average. 

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS) publishes the monthly Labor Market Review, which provides an excellent snapshot of the state’s workforce, and the annual State of the Workforce Report.  DWS provides a wealth of data and publications and these are described on the More Data page. 

Educational attainment is a key site selection factor for businesses considering a new location. New Mexico has a high proportion of residents in the prime workforce age group (25 to 44 years) with graduate or professional degrees, due in part to the national labs and research universities located here. The state also has a high percentage of prime workforce age group with some college education including associates degrees. The bar chart below shows educational attainment for population 25 to 44 years for selected states in 2015.

new mexico educational attainment compared to other states
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2015 One-year estimates


By statute, New Mexico is officially a bilingual state, and one out of four adults speaks Spanish at home. In 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 34% of New Mexico’s population 5 years and over speaks a language other than English compared to the national average of 22%. This cultural diversity provides an opportunity for businesses, especially in the Back Office and Technical Support sector, seeking employees who speak Spanish or a Native language.

chart showing language spoken at home by the population 5 and above
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2015 One-year estimates

Please find downloadable data on educational attainment and the labor force for the state, MSAs, and counties where available.

Local Area Unemployment Statistics for New Mexico, MSAs, and Counties 1990-2015 

New Mexico Industry and Occupational Employment Projections

Educational Attainment by Employment Status of the Population 25 to 64 years for New Mexico and Counties 

Additional workforce data for each county can be found in our County Profiles.