Still Losing the Economic-Development Race

On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released its latest look at states’ gross domestic product — “the market value of goods and services produced by … labor and property.”

As the map above indicates, New Mexico’s GDP performed quite poorly between 2016 and 2017. At growth of 0.8 percent, just ten states — Nebraska, Mississippi, Connecticut, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Alaska, Kansas, South Dakota, and Oklahoma — fared worse. (Three states’ economies actually shrank.) The average for all states was 1.7 percent, so New Mexico didn’t even reach half of the national mark.

Beaten by all but one of its neighbors — and bested by perennial underachievers New Jersey, Illinois, and New York — the Land of Enchantment saw its GDP decline in five categories: agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting; information; durable goods manufacturing; nondurable goods manufacturing; and utilities.

Without the state’s boom in oil production, it’s possible that New Mexico would have joined Connecticut, Louisiana, and Kansas in experiencing a decline in overall GDP.

Strong, sustainable economic-development policies — not politically driven, “visionary” planning schemes — remain as desperately needed as ever in New Mexico. Clearly, what’s in place now isn’t working.

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2 Replies to “Still Losing the Economic-Development Race”

  1. When our senators took vast amounts of land out of the economy, they told us their new national monuments would create thousands of jobs in New Mexico and add millions and millions to the economy. Yet revenue from fishing and hunting is down.

    Is it possible Sens. Udall and Heinrich were not telling the truth, and that the statistics they cited were bogus?

    Seriously, though, is any disinterested party tracking data on the economic impact of national parks and monuments? The only statistics come from the National Park Service and various advocacy groups, and if their data can be believed New Mexico should be rolling in dough.

    1. Thanks for your input, as always, James.

      I explored this issue a bit last summer, when I looked at the feds’ ten “supersectors,” and what the “Leisure and Hospitality” industry pays. (As well as its unemployment rate.)

      Definitely worth a deeper dive, and I will get to it the first chance I get. Thanks for the suggestion.

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