Today, Ball State University's Center for Business and Economic Research
released its annual report card
on how favorable each state is for manufacturing and logistics business. With scores ranging from bad to abysmal
—3 F's, 3 D's, 2 C's and an incongruous A (for "benefit costs")—New Mexico might have to forget about being big industry's next suitor.Let's start with the positive:
New Mexico was one of just four states that received an A for benefit costs. According to the study, these are "non-wage labor costs": health insurance, workers compensation "and other costs such as retirement and other fringe benefits."
Low benefit costs, then, are a perverse advantage: They're a boon for employers, but not always for workers. According to the US Census Bureau, the Southwest has the lowest percentage in every category
of workers with access to retirement and health care benefits—which seems to eliminate the dubious possibility that New Mexico's just more efficient with the money we do spend on benefits. Check out
New Mexico's worst rankings below.Global Reach
The Ball State study defines global reach as "the level of international trade...in exports and imports." Basically, it's a measure of how often (and how successfully) New Mexico does business with the rest of the world.
Answer: we don't. Even as a border state, New Mexico ranks below 47 other states in this category. Diversification
If you've ever had an investment portfolio—or even if you've ever been cautioned not to put all your eggs in one basket—you know the value of diversification. Diversified industry means that when, say, oil and gas revenues decline, your entire state budget doesn't disappear.
When it comes to manufacturing and logistics, we don't have it.Human Capital
Failure here is perhaps the report's saddest commentary on New Mexico. To wit: "Our human capital measurements include rankings of educational attainment
at the high school and collegiate level, the first year retention rate
of adults in community and technical colleges, the number of associates degrees
awarded annually on a per capita basis and the share of adults (25 years and older) enrolled in adult basic education."
One more reason to revamp New Mexico's education system? The list of other states with shoddy human capital: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia.All images courtesy Ball State University.