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Albuquerque Economy Showing Remarkable Growth, August GRT Data Just Released

Fiscal Year 2021 closed out by exceeding estimates, growth in first two months of Fiscal Year 2022 exceed same months in last two years

Oct. 25, 2021

New gross receipts tax (GRT) data received by the City shows that base GRT growth in August 2021 came in 22.7% higher than August 2020, and 20.9% higher than pre-pandemic August 2019. Albuquerque’s economic recovery is showing remarkable growth as the arts and entertainment, information, retail trade, and construction sectors all showed positive gains, with numbers exceeding 2020 and 2019.

“The pandemic presented us with tough challenges, but we stepped up to save lives and livelihoods,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “At the City, we took an all hands on deck approach for the crisis response and these efforts are paying off as key economic indicators show we’re achieving a robust recovery.”

The information sector, which includes Albuquerque’s booming film industry, grew 48.2%, while retail trade, where a large portion of internet sales tax revenue is recorded, grew 27% this month. As reported earlier this week, construction continues to be strong at 25.3% over last year.

The August 2021 GRT data comes on the heels of data released earlier this week that showed base GRT growth in July 2021 coming in 21.3% higher than July 2020, and 4.6% higher than July 2019, now showing remarkable growth in the first two months of fiscal year 2022. Albuquerque is on a strong trajectory toward economic recovery entering the first quarter of FY 2022, which started July 1, 2021. For fiscal year 2021, which ended in June 30,2021, the City’s GRT revenue finished 5.2% above growth estimates.

The City of Albuquerque is leading in pandemic economic recovery and maintained or exceeded estimated growth in many categories during 2020 and 2021, according to recent data regarding the City’s economic trends, and comparisons to peer cities. Growing local industries, economic recovery initiatives, continued construction and infrastructure spending, and local tax increments recently applied to internet sales factor into in this quarter’s growth. In addition, Albuquerque was recognized as one of the “Best-Run Cities in America,” demonstrating smart use of City funding to maintain a high quality of resident services.

Construction jobs, a major driver of economic activity for the city, grew an impressive 14%, or 3,500 jobs, from August 2020 to August 2021—better than Austin, Colorado Springs, El Paso, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, and others, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Albuquerque’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate also decreased in August 2021 to 5.9% from 6.9% in July 2021, while wage growth from 2019 Q1 to 2021 Q1 was +8.6%, higher than Oklahoma City, Colorado Springs, El Paso, and Tucson, according to Federal Reserve data.

Albuquerque also experienced an increase in construction permit revenue growth. FY2020 construction permit revenue grew 20.3% over FY2019, the highest since FY2017. Permit revenue maintained that level in FY2021 despite COVID-19, with approximately equal amounts of commercial and residential construction.

"Throughout the pandemic and into recovery, we were able to make innovative financial decisions to save jobs and strengthen the safety net with our city services,” said Chief Financial Officer Sanjay Bhakta. “Growth in these key areas indicates a strong ongoing economic recovery for Albuquerque.”

National ranking sources are taking notice as well. According to data compiled and analyzed by WalletHub, Albuquerque is spending taxpayer dollars efficiently and effectively. They ranked Albuquerque 31 out of 150 large cities across the nation, above most of our peers, noting operating efficiency which was measured by comparing the quality of services residents receive in relation to the city’s total budget.

“Our economic development efforts throughout the pandemic have put our city on the path to a robust recovery and a bright future,” said Damian R. Lara, the City’s Economic Development Department interim director. “We’ll continue growing good jobs, supporting Albuquerque’s workforce and small businesses, and building an economy that works for everyone.”