EDD Achieves Highest Salary Ever for LEDA in 2021

Salary For LEDA-Created Jobs Exceeds $91,000

SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said 2021 saw several record accomplishments for agency programs and investments, including the highest-ever average salary for companies creating new jobs from the signature LEDA program.


Despite the economic stress and uncertainty in 2021 from the continued COVID-19 pandemic, the Economic Development Department (EDD) leveraged investments in the economy that will generate long-term benefits as the state moves toward recovery.


“Businesses, families, and employees all want to move forward with new jobs, better opportunities, and higher wages,” Cabinet Secretary Keyes said. “Keeping in mind the many losses of the past year, I am proud that the state and the Economic Development Department can help improve the economic lives of New Mexico’s families so they can find stronger footing in the year ahead and start to build a more resilient future.”


Since Jan. 1, 2019, the start of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration, EDD has created or supported over 10,000 jobs through its LEDA (Local Economic Development Act) and JTIP (Job Training Incentive Program) economic assistance programs. The LEDA projects will bring $5 billion in new capital investment to New Mexico and create over $30 billion in economic impact across New Mexico in the coming decade.


The major accomplishments in 2021 include:


·     For economic assistance through LEDA, EDD awarded grants totaling $16.6 million that will support 1,828 jobs with $3.6 billion in capital investment. Calendar year 2021 saw the highest average wage for LEDA-invested jobs, $91,496, an increase of 53% from the 2020 calendar year average of $59,499. The average salary for jobs statewide in New Mexico is $45,000.

·     JTIP supported 2,925 trainees in 2021. The businesses assisted are located in 15 counties: Bernalillo, Chaves, Cibola, Doña Ana, Los Alamos, Luna, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Taos, and Torrance. JTIP supports these trainees so that businesses can continue to grow their presence in New Mexico, continuing to hire and train local workers. The trainees learn new skills and improve their earning capability.

·     In manufacturing, Gov. Lujan Grisham, EDD, and INTEL announced the largest private investment ever in the state with a $3.5 billion expansion of the Rio Rancho semiconductor manufacturing facility. After being approved for a $5 million LEDA grant, Intel announced it would hire 700 new employees with an average salary of $140,000.

·     Gov. Lujan Grisham and EDD announced that BlueHalo, an aerospace and defense manufacturing company, will expand its New Mexico footprint and invest in a new office complex and production facility in Albuquerque. The $2.2 million LEDA investment will assist BlueHalo as it hires 64 new employees with an average salary of $105,000.

·     In value-added agriculture, the EDD announced that several homegrown farm, ranch, and food processing companies will build or expand operations throughout the state, including Saputo Cheese in Las Cruces, Bueno Foods and Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm in Bernalillo County; La Primera Tortilla Factory in Sunland Park; and Beck and Bulow in Santa Fe.

·     In Outdoor Recreation, EDD announced its first LEDA investment to support the outdoor recreation manufacturing industry with a $100,000 grant from LEDA so Earth Traveler Teardrop Trailers LLC could expand into a manufacturing center in Santa Fe to ramp up production of its super-lightweight teardrop camping trailers.


The year also saw one of the most significant rural redevelopment projects propelled again by LEDA. Wind Turbine & Energy Cables Corp., (WTEC) will reopen a closed factory in Chamberino, N.M. to manufacture the steel wire and other components used in wind and solar energy projects. With $2 million in assistance from LEDA, New Mexico beat out Texas for the project that will bring 315 jobs to one of the poorest communities in the state.


Other rural LEDA projects included expansion assistance for the Capitol Bar & Brewery in Socorro and an investment into Green Stream Farms in Columbus, N.M., which is developing one of the world’s largest outdoor algae farms.


Additional urban-area LEDA assistance in 2021 went to Affordable Solar, Build With Robots, MTX Group, Contigo Compounding, and American Gypsum.


Also in 2021, EDD moved forward with a new initiative to help rural communities invest in new infrastructure at industrial parks. The innovative LEDA grants will help rural areas develop shovel-ready sites and be more competitive for new economic-base jobs. EDD announced rural infrastructure grants to Moriarty, Clovis, and Taos.


To round out the year, EDD also revamped its website and completed a 20-year Statewide Strategic Economic Development Plan: “Empower and Collaborate: New Mexico’s Path Forward,” which is available here.


Both projects were undertaken with help from a U.S. Economic Development Administration CARES Act grant. The $1.5 million grant is also paying for statewide outreach and relief efforts, especially in tribal and rural communities. EDD looks to invest more in these communities in 2022.


To read all of the announcements from EDD, visit the website.