38 is the percentage of new jobs in New Mexico that aren’t expected to pay wages providing economic security.
$21,888 is the average annual income a single worker needs to have economic security in New Mexico.
$27,600 is the average annual income a single worker needs to have economic security in Santa Fe.
" We really need to raise wages, as Santa Fe was willing to do a couple of years ago. Those wages need to be indexed to the cost of living, and we also need to return to the time when we had health insurance. There’s been a huge risk shift away from employers and onto individual families."—Ona Porter, CEO and president of Prosperity Work
New economic data created to estimate living expenses in New Mexico suggests that new jobs created over the next decade won’t necessarily pay well enough to provide any New Mexicans with economic security, let alone Santa Feans.
The Basic Economic Security Tables (BEST) Index finds that most job growth expected will be in relatively low-paying sectors such as home health care, retail, construction and office work. Jobs in those sectors often don’t pay enough to allow economic security—that is, to provide workers with enough money to save for their children’s education and retirement at the same time as keeping up with rising health care costs.
State Sen. Eric Griego, D-Bernalillo, who is also the executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, says the report confirms a trend he had already been leery of—New Mexico’s focus on attracting any type of job to the state, regardless of pay or benefits rates.
“When you look at the indicators that the business-recruitment people talk about, [our economic development strategy] is ‘New Mexico is a low-cost place to do business,’” Griego says. “Instead of marketing ourself as a place that pays low wages, we ought to be thinking, ‘Come to New Mexico; we have a great quality of life’…instead of this marketing that we’re like Southeast Asia, only closer.”