The construction job boom continues in the Land of Enchantment as New Mexico ranked No. 4 nationally with a 9.2 percent gain in jobs in the building trades, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.
New Mexico added 4,300 construction jobs in a one-year period beginning in August 2018 to reach 51,100 construction jobs — even as Albuquerque and Las Cruces each added only 100 jobs and Santa Fe dropped 100.
Nearly all the job growth is in the southeastern corner of the state in support of the oil and gas boom in Lea and Eddy counties and their hub cities, Hobbs and Carlsbad.
The top construction job growth states all have strong mining/petroleum sectors, according to the Associated General Contractors of America’s analysis of U.S. Department of Labor statistics. North Dakota had the top year-over-year percentage job growth in August followed by Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming and Alaska.
Carlsbad has built 962 single-family homes since 2012 in a city with a population of about 29,000. Another 3,317 homes are planned. Apartment complexes also have been built, with a combined 823 units constructed and another 2,913 planned, according to city of Carlsbad statistics.
“We’re getting homes in the hundreds,” said John Waters, executive director of Carlsbad Department of Development, a nonprofit economic development organization. “We need homes in the thousands. Apartment complexes have 100-people waiting lists on all of them.”
On top of that, Carlsbad has approved 4,973 units of temporary housing, with 3,203 units in temporary RV parks and 1,770 units of modular structures referred to as “man camps.”
Ten hotels are under construction or planned — many oil workers live in the existing hotel rooms.
“We have five good-size hotels under construction,” Waters said. “We’ve been working with about a dozen [hotel developers] over the last few months.”
Carlsbad nearly matches Albuquerque, which has six hotels under construction.
Petroleum companies Chevron Corp., XTO Energy and Occidental Petroleum are currently building regional offices, and WPX Energy and Concho Resources already have expanded in Carlsbad, some in the 150,000- to 200,000-square-foot range, Waters said.
In Lea County, Cactus Oilfield Services and Cudd Energy Services have built offices recently, and Devon Energy is renovating office space in Hobbs, said Missi Currier, CEO of the Economic Development Corp. of Lea County.