By the time this year comes to a close, we should see more than 1,000 new jobs generated in our area – most of which pay well over the state’s current minimum wage of $7.50 per hour. These jobs span different industries – from business services and manufacturing to advanced food processing. These jobs require different skills and skill levels. All of these jobs are in the private sector. Adding private-sector jobs is far more advantageous than public-sector jobs in that we are not subject to the budget changes made in Washington, D.C., something that has hurt the state of New Mexico and Doña Ana County over the last five-plus years.
Instead, future job growth is based on business people making logical decisions related to market conditions.
It’s nice to see new investment in southern New Mexico. It proves that the decisions made in Santa Fe are evening the playing field for New Mexico and allowing us to compete on the global stage for businesses looking to locate in the United States.
This may be only the tip of the iceberg. If other logistics companies follow along with Union Pacific, there very well may be another 1,000 new jobs coming our way over time. With all of this opportunity, why is there currently such a debate on increasing the minimum wage rate to an unreasonable level? Should the focus not be about preparing and positioning our work force to take advantage of these fantastic opportunities? Somebody is going to do it. Not everybody can be the president or the CEO, but everyone can strive to do better. Better for their family. Better for themselves.
It’s not about the minimum wage – it’s about opportunity. Seize the opportunity.
Bill Allen, President/CEO Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce