The Most Populous County in the state of New Mexico, Bernalillo County is teeming with business creation potential. The economic landscape in the county is filled with mom-and-pop shops, small manufacturers, major institutions and large-scale corporations. Some of the county’s major private employers include Sandia National Laboratories, Presbyterian Healthcare Services and Lovelace Sandia Health System, and the major public employers include Albuquerque Public Schools, University of New Mexico and Kirtland Air Force Base. The county is one of the state’s fastest-growing counties, with 19 percent growth between 2000 and 2010.
New Mexico was primarily an agricultural state until the 1940s, when military activities assumed major economic importance. Currently, major industries include manufacturing, petroleum and food. Tourism also continues to flourish. New Mexico’s economy has an unusually large public sector, accounting for nearly 20 percent of total state product in 2014, compared with the national state average of 12 percent. The state was relatively unaffected by both the boom of the late 1990s and the bust of 2001.
Albuquerque, located at the crossroads of the state’s travel routes, is the largest city in Bernalillo County and in the state of New Mexico. Clear, sunny, dry days; an attractive mountain landscape; and a mostly healthy economy attract new residents from across the country. Not only is the physical climate excellent, but the area also has a favorable tax climate, and the state’s fiscal health is among the best in the country. The area is a center for the high-tech industry and especially research-oriented activities, centered on the giant Sandia Laboratories nuclear research facility south of town. There are over 100 mostly small- and medium-size tech-related companies, and the area has experienced some vulnerability to tech industry economic cycles. Bernalillo County has a cost of living that is slightly higher than the nation’s average, but the low unemployment rate, shorter commutes and affordable housing make it an ideal place to live.
The state is home to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, a site that contains a wealth of information about the state’s workforce development services, employment and training resources, and unemployment insurance program. Visit www.dws.state.nm.us for more information and office locations. Some of the resources available through the site include job scam warnings, job fairs, apprenticeship programs, disability and unemployment program navigator, starting a new business and veteran programs.
Kirtland Air Force Base
There are more than 22,000 people who work at Kirtland Air Force Base — including uniformed military members, federal civilians and contract workers — making it one of the largest employers in New Mexico. Kirtland Air Force Base, including its mission partners, is estimated to have an annual economic impact of $6.7 billion, according to the 2016 Kirtland Air Force Base Economic Impact Statement.