New Mexico’s challenging construction climate

There can be no doubt that New Mexico’s construction industry faces some serious public policy challenges. The Associated Builders and Contractors, for example, ranked New Mexico 51st (behind even Washington, DC) on policies affecting the industry. The scorecard included such “bread and butter” RGF ideas like “right to work” and Davis-Bacon “prevailing wage” repeal.

Interestingly enough (albeit unsurprisingly to us), New Mexico suffers from high levels of unemployment in construction per this chart from June 2016. Both charts and additional commentary can be found here.

To be fair, Alabama has a higher rate in June, but this is a snapshot, the real kicker comes in the subsequent chart in which we find that New Mexico’s second-highest unemployment rate of June 2016 represents a VAST improvement over the same time last year:

In addition to “right to work” and “prevailing wage” there are permitting, land-use, and a whole host of other factors that make construction more difficult in New Mexico than it has to be. It would be nice if policymakers focused on ways to address the issue.

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3 Replies to “New Mexico’s challenging construction climate”

  1. Since New Mexico’s private sector is minimal, I’m wondering if the construction industry accounts for a larger share of the private economy here than in other states. That could intensify our politicians’ enthusiasm for infrastructure projects.

  2. Our firm has been a commercial GC in NM for over 65 years and our state is not a business friendly place.
    We have a few private out of state clients who get excited about their projects but then become reluctant to pull the trigger. My only guess is that they see better opportunities with less hassle in other places (Texas, Arizona).
    I think our government (city, county, state) sees the construction industry as an annoyance rather than a real employer of New Mexicans.
    It would be interesting to see what NM could become if we truly embraced free market principles, were helpful and made it easy to do things.

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