New Mexico construction jobs rebounded from November to December with the state ranking No. 2 in the country with a 3.8 percent month-to-month gain in jobs, according to Associated General Contractors of America.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, New Mexico routinely ranked in the top 10 in construction job growth, driven largely by the oil and natural gas boom in the southeast corner of the state. During the pandemic, however, New Mexico dropped to No. 42 with a 6.3 percent loss in jobs, driven largely by the collapse of the oil sector.

The state lost 3,300 construction jobs since March but regained 1,800 from November to December, according to the trade association.

“There are a lot more trucks on the road,” said Missi Currier, CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County. “A lot of guys [in the oil industry] started getting called back just before the Christmas holidays.”

Construction jobs in Santa Fe County have been booming since July, ranking in or near the top 10 in a separate list of 358 metropolitan areas. Before then, Santa Fe typically ranked in the 300s.

The city of Santa Fe’s Land Use Department reported issuing 5,800 building permits from March to December, a 10 percent increase over the previous year. The city has about 2,200 housing units under construction with 1,000 more in the planning and design phase, according to a Land Use Department news release.

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