State Focuses on Rebuilding Industry Jobs
Monday, January 11, 2021
When the Great Recession ended in 2009, it took the United States five years to regain lost jobs. In New Mexico, recovery took twice that long, with the state surpassing its pre-recession employment levels just before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the economy to a halt.
It was a lost decade of job growth that stalled upward mobility for workers and families and forced college graduates – New Mexico’s future – to leave the state for opportunities elsewhere.
The reason it took twice as long to recover: New Mexico’s answer to tight budgets was to cut economic development investments in the LEDA fund to almost zero and to suppress funding to New Mexico’s longest and best-rated workforce training program, the Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP).
The current COVID-19 pandemic-induced recession happened faster and is more severe in many ways. While the state lost about 50,000 jobs over two years during the last recession, New Mexico shed 100,000 jobs in just one month, between March and April 2020. Some of those positions have returned, but employment levels are still down 60,000 from the months before COVID-19.