Employment
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Employment

Central New Mexico had approximately 364,500 jobs and 21,600 business establishments in 2015 (Table 1). The average weekly wage was $840, which was higher than the statewide average wage of $818. Bernalillo County serves as an employment hub for the four-county area as well as the state; in 2015, it held 87.4 percent of all jobs within the four-counties and 39.5 percent of jobs within New Mexico. The metropolitan area held 45 percent of the state’s employment.

Table 1: Average Annual Employment, 2015

Average Annual Employment, 2015
  Average Establishments Average Employment Average Weekly Wage
Bernalillo County
17,977
318,734
$855
Sandoval County
2,183
29,154
$804
Torrance County
320
3,228
$725
Valencia County
1,126
13,421
$594
Central NM
21,606
364,537
$840
New Mexico 
56,844
806,199
$818

Source: New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

New Mexico officially entered the recession in the first quarter of 2009 and, like the rest of the nation, has experienced significant job loss. Non-agricultural employment fell from a pre-recessionary high of 384,000 jobs in late 2007 to a low of 350,000 jobs in early 2012, a loss of nearly nine percent. Chart 1 shows the change in employment throughout the recession and post-recessionary period. Much like the rest of New Mexico, the four-county area has seen a modest recovery in job growth and, while other parts of the country have rebounded strongly, the job recovery in New Mexico has been subdued. Central New Mexico employment grew to nearly 370,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2015, which is a sign that the labor market is improving.

Chart 1: Employment (Jobs) in Central New Mexico, 2005-2015
Chart 1: Employment (Jobs) in Central New Mexico, 2005-2015
Source: New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

The decline in employment has affected the unemployment rate in the four-county area, which rose from 3.7 percent in 2007 to 8.0 percent in 2010 (Chart 2). Even given this steep rise in unemployment, Central New Mexico did not experience the high nationwide unemployment rates of the recession, which peaked at 9.6 percent in 2010. This fact is attributed primarily to a high number of job seekers in New Mexico dropping out of the labor force altogether, thereby dulling the impact of job loss on the unemployment rate. In 2014, the statewide unemployment rate was 6.7 percent, and the Central New Mexico rate was 6.6 percent. The national unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, which was the first time in recent history that it had dropped below the statewide rate and the Central New Mexico rate. In 2015, the gap widened further; the statewide and Central New Mexico unemployment rates were 6.6 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively, and the United States rate was 5.3 percent (Table 2 and Chart 2).

Table 2: Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment - US, New Mexico, and Central New Mexico, 2015

Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment, - US, New Mexico, and Central New Mexico Counties, 2015
  Civilian Labor Force Employment Unemployment Unemployment Rate
(Percent)
Bernalillo County
318,387
299,513
18,874
5.9%
Sandoval County
60,693
56,612
4,081
6.7%
Torrance County
5,449
4,957
492
9.0%
Valencia County
29,378
27,181
2,197
7.5%
Central NM
413,906
388,263
25,643
6.2%
New Mexico 
919,889
859,242
60,647
6.6%
United States
157,130,000
148,834,000
8,296,000
5.3%

Source: New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, Local Area Unemployment Statistics

Chart 2: Unemployment Rate, US, New Mexico, and Central New Mexico 2005-2015
Chart 2: Unemployment Rates, U.S., New Mexico, and Central New Mexico, 2005-2015Source: New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, Local Area Unemployment Statistics

As illustrated in Table 3, the largest industry in Central New Mexico is trade, transportation, and utilities, which includes retail and wholesale trade, and represents 17.2 percent of all jobs. Next are the education and health services, the professional and business services, and the leisure and hospitality industries. Regional employment has historically benefited from relatively stable local, state, and federal government industries, which make up over one-fifth of employment. Industries that have suffered the largest percentage declines in jobs include manufacturing, construction, information, and financial activities. By comparison, several service providing industries were resilient, with significant employment gains realized in the education and health services, and the leisure and hospitality industries, as the region has improved as a destination for tourists.

Another trend is a growing senior population that is demanding more health care services. The industry has expanded significantly in Sandoval County, with the construction of two regional hospitals, several medical clinics, and senior housing projects. The trade, transportation, and utilities industry is the largest in both Bernalillo and Valencia Counties. Sandoval County has a strong professional and business services industry, which makes up the largest percentage of the county’s employment. The largest industry in Torrance County is local government.

Table 3: Top 10 Industries in Central New Mexico, 2015

Top 10 Industries in Central New Mexico, 2015
 Rank Industry Average Employment Percent of Total
1 Trade, transportation and utilities
62,603
17.2%
2 Education and health services
57,240
15.7%
3 Professional and business services
55,628
15.3%
4 Leisure and hospitality
42,005
11.5%
5 Local Government
39,810
10.9%
6 State Government
21,900
6.0%
7 Construction
19,876
5.5%
8 Financial activities
16,754
4.6%
9 Manufacturing
16,392
4.5%
10 Federal Government
14,217
3.9%
Total, all industries
364,537
100.0%

Source: New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

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