Four Industries Poised For Growth in New Mexico

Four Industries Poised For Growth in New Mexico

New Mexico is a land of diverse people, cultures, and economic opportunities. Over the years, the state has become an attractive market for a profound landscape of industries that are flourishing and continuously expanding. The growth of many emerging industries has increased job opportunities and attracted numerous high-tech companies to the region. Renewable energy, Film and Digital Media, Tourism and Hospitality, as well as Agriculture and Food Processing are four industries that have especially seen recent growth in the sector. It’s no secret that state legislators have also done their fair share of providing unique and favorable business opportunities for these industries in recent years. Such opportunities include refundable tax credits, clean energy initiatives and incentives, and an expanding skilled labor force. With its unique blend of industries and ongoing commitment to economic expansion, New Mexico has established itself as an attractive market and location for major companies and continues to witness positive job growth and economic development, positioning itself as a vibrant state with a promising future.

Renewable Energy

The renewable energy industry has experienced significant growth in recent years. With the amount of total electricity generation from renewable resources being five times higher in 2022 than in 2015, New Mexico has committed to taking advantage of its environment’s high potential for producing clean energy. In 2019, the state passed the Energy Transition Act, which mandates that 50% of New Mexico’s electricity must be generated from carbon-free sources by 2030, and 80% by 2040, eventually leading up to 100% by 2045. This commitment to renewable energy has spurred an increase in investment and innovation in the industry. As of 2022, renewable resources made up 42% of New Mexico’s in-state electricity net generation, nearing the state’s goal of 50% by 2030.

There are three ways in which the state utilizes renewable resources for electricity generation: wind energy, solar energy, and geothermal energy.

Wind Energy

Wind energy, so far, contributes the highest percentage of the state’s renewable energy and provided the largest share of the states’s total in-state generation at 35%. To start 2023, New Mexico ranked ninth in the U.S. in wind capacity with around 4,411 megawatts installed. According to The Department of Energy, New Mexico ranks at #3 in wind energy potential, leaving a great deal of room for further expansion into this sector by tapping into this energy source.

Solar Energy

New Mexico’s climate is defined by abundant sunshine year-round, giving the state a high potential for solar energy production and ranking it #3 in the country for solar energy potential. In 2022, utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) facilities provided about 5% of New Mexico’s total in-state net generation. This number is only expected to increase as rooftop solar installations become increasingly popular as they become more accessible.

Geothermal Energy

Along with New Mexico’s other high potentials for renewable resources, the state is also home to the #6 ranked geothermal energy potential in the country. It even has some direct uses for the state’s most precious crop: chilies! One of geothermal energy’s uses is to heat greenhouses throughout the state, leading to a more efficient use of energy for food production which can usually be energy taxing.

Film and Digital Media

The film and digital media industry is another industry in New Mexico that has seen tremendous growth over recent years. New Mexico is home to breathtaking landscapes and diverse locations and cultures that have drawn filmmakers from around the globe to shoot their productions within its borders. Netflix is one of the major companies that actively films in New Mexico, with many top-rated shows either already made or in the making. The state also offers a 25-35% refundable tax credit to film companies that meet the requirements of the Film Production Tax Credit Act. Moreover, New Mexico’s commitment to nurturing local talent through film schools and production programs has fostered a vibrant creative community, inspiring a new generation of filmmakers and digital media professionals. As a result, it has become a sought-after destination for filmmakers, both in Hollywood and the independent scene, making it one of New Mexico’s fastest-growing industries.

This rapid expansion of the film industry in the state has led to over $850 million in direct spending in 2022. This is also a 36% increase over the previous year which was around $620 million, which was the previous highest amount since it had more than doubled from around $290 million in 2020. If those numbers aren’t impressive enough, it is also important to note that this also includes a 650% increase in spending in rural communities, which is an increase from around $6.5 million to $50 million in 2022. This is the most amount of money spent by film and television producers working in rural communities that the state and the country have ever seen. This also includes a new high for overall productions done in the state with 55 films and 54 for television. This explosion in productions and spending is expected to bring in an estimated $1.37 billion in economic output in the next two years, barring any setbacks from the ongoing SAG-AFTRA Strike.

New Mexico’s thriving film industry is guaranteed to continue to attract diverse projects, ranging from big-budget blockbusters to innovative indie films and cutting-edge digital content. The industry’s expansion has led to significant job creation and economic benefits, contributing to the state’s overall prosperity. As technology continues to advance, the state remains at the forefront of the digital media revolution, showcasing its innovative spirit and positioning itself as a driving force in the future of entertainment.

Tourism and Hospitality

A unique blend of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures is what defines the iconic scenes of New Mexico that draw millions of visitors each year. The state is rich with history, ancient ruins, traditional art, delicious and unique cuisines, and vibrant festivals such as the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and the Santa Fe Indian Market. As a result, the tourism and hospitality industry is always flourishing in New Mexico.

The industry’s resilience in the state has shined in recent times post-pandemic, with leisure and hospitality jobs now exceeding pre-pandemic levels since they have returned by an estimated 100.6%. Alongside this significant bounce back in jobs returning from the pandemic, the state is outpacing the national average in job growth in this industry by adding 10,200 jobs in the last year, which is a 10.9% increase. The National Restaurant Association also found that New Mexico saw a 2.7% increase in employment in food service establishments in June 2022 compared to June 2019. Job growth in this sector is the result of an increase in visitors and visitor spending in recent years. This includes a record 39 million visitors in 2021 and an increase of 5% in visitor spending in May 2022 compared to May 2019, while the national average saw a 0% change in the same period. Average daily hotel rates have also surpassed pre-pandemic levels, as hotels have been able to stay occupied as more visitors flock to the state.

The New Mexico tourism and hospitality industry has proven to be a dynamic and thriving sector in the state’s economy. The future growth of this industry looks to be promising as it further evolves to showcase all the diversities and wonders the state has to offer. New Mexico’s tourism and hospitality industry is poised to remain a beacon of travel inspiration for generations to come.

Agriculture and Food Processing

The agriculture and food processing industries have become essential to New Mexico’s economy and the agricultural landscape of the United States. Largely due in part to the state’s favorable climate, fertile soil isn’t hard to come by, and efficient irrigation systems are as accessible as ever. Year-round sunshine is also a large factor that contributes to the incredible farming potential of local farms. Along with high crop yields and quality, New Mexico also bolsters an efficient food processing industry, drawing in many of the top companies in the sector.

To no native New Mexican’s surprise, the state is the highest producer of chile in the country. It is also noteworthy that it is also the highest-producing state of summer onions and pecans, as well as the 4th largest producer of cheese in the United States. New Mexico is the 5th largest state by area, and its diverse landscape with a climate that supports year-round growing gives it an advantage over most other agricultural states. This is especially ideal for the quickly-growing hemp industry, as the ample sunshine provides the perfect conditions for growers looking to put out high yields year-round.

New Mexico also happens to be a prime location for food production and shipping. This is because the state is located within two days of 75% of the U.S. population by truck, providing access to the key markets within the country. Along with the perfect shipping location, the state is also home to over 180,000 experienced manufacturing workers, which is especially attractive to any food processing company looking to set up or expand in the state. In addition, New Mexico also offers companies that look to relocate to the state beneficial incentives. Some of the major food manufacturing companies that already have locations in New Mexico include Bimbo, Bueno Foods, General Mills, Stampede Meat, and Southwest Cheese.

This industry is only expected to continue to grow as New Mexico further innovates and invests in the sector. Especially since agriculture and food processing has become such a vital part of the state’s economy, creating a positive outlook for stakeholders and consumers alike. More sustainable agricultural practices combined with the state’s expanding renewable energy sector look promising as the country begins to transition to a more sustainable and efficient future. Through its commitment to quality, tradition, and innovation, the agriculture and food processing industry in New Mexico embodies the spirit of the Land of Enchantment while nourishing communities far beyond its borders.