New Census data highlights massive hit to Rio Rancho economy – Albuquerque Business First.
- Dennis Domrzalski
- Reporter-Albuquerque Business First
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Rio Rancho’s economy took a major hit in 2012, and its major commercial and industrial zip code lost $315 million in annual payroll from the previous year, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The 87124 zip code, which houses Rio Rancho’s Intel Corp. plant, saw its annual payroll fall to $549 million in 2012 from $864.6 million in 2011, the Census Bureau data said. The zip code lost 2,283 nonfarm jobs over the year.
The area’s annual payroll has been falling since 2006, when it was $980.2 million.
Economic developer Mark Lautman said the decreases in payroll and jobs were most likely due to staff reductions at Intel and Hewlett Packard. He added that Sandoval County has been losing economic base jobs – those whose products or services are exported out of the state – for the past five years.
“The economic base of Sandoval County has shrunk by 30 percent over the past five years. The county is losing economic base jobs at an alarming rate,” said Lautman, owner of Lautman Economic Architecture. “A lot of it has to do with downsizing of Intel and Hewlett Packard.”
“If you lose 1,000 jobs between Intel and HP, they take a job or two in the service sector away. You only need 1,000 economic base jobs to go away and you get a total loss of 2,000. That’s why economic base jobs are so important,” he explained.
The zip code actually gained 29 private-sector businesses over the year, according to the data. Ten of those were in the retail sector, which has one of the lowest average annual wages in the state at $24,400.
The area lost two construction firms and two finance and insurance sector establishments during 2012. It also lost 15 firms in the administrative support and waste management and remediation sector, the Census Bureau reported.
Lautman’s firm did an economic assessment of Sandoval County in 2012. That assessment has led to a wider discussion of how the county should overhaul its economic development efforts, he added.
“Sandoval County has to add 1,000 to 1,100 economic base jobs a year for the next 10 years just to overcome the losses. Their existing efforts have been productive, but they haven’t been enough,” Lautman added. “They are going to have to double or triple the size of their economic development at its former peak, so it is huge.”