By 2023, we need 160,880 economic-base jobs to return to pre-recession employment levels in the state. The figure is adjusted to allow for population growth, says House Speaker Ken Martinez, a Grants Democrat.
The figure comes from the Jobs Council, an interim legislative committee that is generally considered a Martinez project. Despite the numerical precision — it’s not rounded to 160,000 — “granular certainty” in Jobs Council numbers can’t be done and is unnecessary, said Mark Lautman, long-time economic developer who is consulting with the Jobs Council and acting as project leader.
The important thing about the jobs number — that 160,000 — is the size, quite large enough to get attention, said one lobbyist at the Jobs Council meeting Oct. 9 in Silver City. The next Jobs Council meeting is Nov. 8 in Santa Fe.
Those 160,000 jobs (in 36 economic subsectors) over 10 years turn into 16,000 needed jobs per year, more than double the current pace of wage job growth. A challenge.