Why Isn’t New Mexico a Manufacturing Powerhouse?

In a blog post last week, the American Petroleum Institute’s Mark Green noted:

Energy isn’t just used to keep machines running or factory lights shining. It also provides the heat necessary to shape metal and the building blocks to create chemicals, refined fuels, plastics and fertilizers. Energy is the lifeblood of what we make, and affordable domestic energy is now providing an important leg up for domestic manufacturers. Thanks to the U.S. shale revolution, this newly affordable and abundant energy is making U.S. manufacturers increasingly competitive, or even more competitive, than overseas rivals. The shale revolution has reshaped the playing field and has made the U.S. the place to be for energy-intensive manufacturing.

All true. Green cited a 2014 PwC study that estimated that “continued shale gas development in the U.S. could generate 930,000 new manufacturing jobs by 2030 and 1.41 million by 2040.”

New Mexico is a leading producer of natural gas, and the price of the fuel for industry was halved between 2008 and 2015:


So manufacturing jobs boomed in the Land of Enchantment during that period, right?

Not exactly.

Here’s annual manufacturing employment in New Mexico (average of all months, seasonally adjusted, in thousands), as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:


Corporate welfare isn’t boosting manufacturing jobs here. Neither is huge subsidies to government schools. And neither is cheap natural gas.

Maybe it’s time to consider tax simplification/relief, deregulation, school choice, and a right-to-work law?