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New Mexico Economic Priority Sectors

New Mexico Economic Priority Sectors 2022-12-13T08:48:43-07:00

New Mexico Economic Priority Sectors

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has identified nine sectors where New Mexico can lead the nation. These include:


Leaders across the state from industry, government, and academia, work together to make New Mexico a center of innovation for space. New Mexico has an early advantage in specialization areas that support the aerospace industry, including microelectronics, optics, directed energy, computer software, satellite manufacturers and operators, and data analytics. These sub-industries of aerospace are strengths in New Mexico and many colleges and universities have programs that support them. As home to the world’s first commercial spaceport, 3 national research laboratories, 3 Air Force bases and 3 testing facilities with the most experienced FAA approved UAS test center with access to over 15,000 square miles of restricted air space, New Mexico is the place to be to grow aerospace businesses, jobs, and educational opportunities.

2. Bioscience and Health

New Mexico’s bioscience industry is growing and we need to capitalize on the momentum and opportunities in the industry. New Mexico’s bioscience industry garnered about $1.2 billion in revenue in 2015. There are 700 biotech companies now working in human health, agricultural and environmental issues around the state. These businesses directly employ about 9.300 people, and up to 41,000 if related support jobs are included. Alongside a Center of Excellence at UNM we will be able to grow this industry.


One of the fastest growing industries in the world, New Mexico has all of the pieces in place to be a hub for cybersecurity: national labs, world class research universities, the FBI center in Albuquerque, existing degree and training programs, and large regions of our state that fall into the extreme “safety zone” in terms of threats to operational disruption. The development of New Mexico’s cybersecurity industry grew by 50% in the past decade and accounted for approximately 8,000 new jobs in 2020. The success of cybersecurity businesses in NM can be directly attributed to the physical infrastructure, human capital and economic support provided by the national labs, universities and state agencies.


Film production supports hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs across the state. With more than $600 million in annual direct spending, it’s one of New Mexico’s fastest-growing industries. With significant economic benefits and impact for New Mexico, film incentives generated an estimated $1.37 billion in economic output in just two years. Existing workforce development programs, such as the Film Crew Advancement Program (FCAP), are critical for ensuring that New Mexico maintains a pipeline of qualified crew workers for the state’s film and television industry. With an average wage of $62,400 in New Mexico, film and television occupations are a valuable opportunity for residents to make a decent living with opportunities for rapid career advancement.


Global trade has a major impact on the state’s economy, as manufacturing exports alone support 15,000 jobs in NM. New Mexico led the nation in export growth in 2019, with a 31% increase in volume, and exports to Mexico grew by 68% as a direct result of the expansion of industrial operations in Santa Teresa. Most exporting companies in NM are small- and medium-sized businesses, and high-tech products such as industrial machinery, electrical machinery, and precision instruments comprise the largest categories of traded goods in both exports and imports. Global trade in New Mexico is supported by notable trade-focused institutions, and the industrial development over the past few years has stimulated New Mexico as having a significant competitive advantage in rail logistics.


New Mexico has a strong and versatile manufacturing ecosystem that is comprised of a diverse range of firms, from large corporations such as Intel to small, family-owned businesses. New Mexico is home to 3 national research facilities and 3 nationally recognized research universities. The state is ranked 1st in non-industry investment in research and development, 2nd in high-tech jobs, and 7th in patents, providing unparalleled capacity for research collaboration and technology commercialization in many areas that contribute to advanced manufacturing (2017 State New Economy Index). New Mexico has many companies utilizing technologies spun out of these institutions. Education and research opportunities at these facilities contribute graduates in many fields including engineering, optics, nanotechnologies, physics, and manufacturing hardware and software development.


New Mexico is endowed with significant natural assets that provide a range of economic, environmental, and social benefits for New Mexicans. Over the past decade, New Mexico has taken major steps to capitalize on its strength in outdoor recreation for economic and community development. Public health, conservation, equity, and community well-being feature prominently in the state’s efforts to develop the outdoor recreation economy, and leaders fully recognize the synergistic value in integrating sustainability, health, and economic growth. The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020 has made available substantial federal funding over the next five years and having access to this funding will enable New Mexico to transform its outdoor recreation industry into a key economic driver.


New Mexico’s geographic location and amenable climate make the state a natural home to renewable energy production and maintains a strong policy portfolio for the sustainable energy industry. Policies like the 2019 Energy Transition Act, which requires the state to be carbon free by 2045 and derive 80% of its energy from renewables by 2040, have placed renewables at the center of New Mexico’s energy sector. Apprenticeship programs have been developed in partnership with the Department of Workforce Solutions to help incentivize collaboration between renewable energy firms and the state’s training and education institutions in the development of industry-relevant training programs for workers in energy industries impacted by the transition to renewables. A report produced for New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) found that the counties of Guadalupe, Torrance, Lincoln, and Roosevelt had strong potential for wind production, while counties in southwestern New Mexico maintained the highest potential for solar development. The expansion of the renewables industry in New Mexico will provide higher-skill, higher wage employment opportunities for many residents across NM.


New Mexico’s economy has been based in cattle ranching and farming for two centuries, and still has a significant presence with 24,700 farms in operation. On a large scale, New Mexico’s agricultural producers lead the United States in the production of chiles and pecans, alongside the state’s strong dairy industry. On a more local scale, the value-added agriculture industry serves as a vital source of income and employment for many located in New Mexico’s rural communities, including the state’s large Native American population. For residents entering New Mexico’s agriculture industry within the last several years, understanding farm loans, grants, and repayment programs offers new challenges to be addressed. Supporting employees and employers in New Mexico’s value-added agriculture strengthens rural communities and is a foundational industry that provides employment to a significant component of NM workforce.

NM Economic Development Department:
Target Industries,
Statewide Strategic Plan,


Page last updated December 13, 2022