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Analysis predicts NM job growth in coming years

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The New Mexico economy remains stable, with modest job growth predicted in most industry sectors through 2024 and an overall 4.1 percent in wage increases expected during the period.

Investment in roads and other needed infrastructure is also anticipated in coming years and the oil and gas industry will continue to increase production, according to an executive summary of an economic forecast presented Friday by the University of New Mexico Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

Nationally, the economy is described as “generally strong,” although there is some concern that fourth-quarter 2018 data was not available due to the government shutdown, that the national housing market has appeared to stall and that financial markets have shown recent volatility.

Some of the highlights of the New Mexico 2018 economic data include that unemployment fell to 4.6 percent, which puts it at about the national rate. The rate was 6 percent at the end of 2017. Manufacturing experienced job growth in all four quarters of 2018, after years of decline. Oil industry production set records, and residential housing sales and construction saw their strongest numbers since 2008.

The UNM Bureau of Business and Economic Research is projecting that the state will add 10,950 jobs in 2019 and an average of 9,850 jobs every year thereafter through 2024. The gains are expected in all regions, except the Farmington Metropolitan Statistical area, and for high-wage blue-collar jobs, low-wage service jobs and professional jobs.

State and local government jobs are expected to grow as New Mexico is able to spend its surplus revenues, generated primarily by the oil and gas industry, and as it responds to a court mandate to increase school spending.