Developing new base jobs is the key to a health economy in a community, according to a veteran in economic development.

“There are two types of jobs in a community — base and non-base,” said Cheryl Pink from Rio Rancho Economic Development Corporation.

“Base jobs import money into your economy and that imported money supports non-base jobs like retail and local services.”

Pink gave a lesson in basic economic development at the third annual Economic Development Conference at the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus on Wednesday.

“Base jobs employers bring new money into your economy by selling their product outside of the area. That in turn generates other jobs to support the people and company,” she said.

“Non-base jobs are retail and local services. These jobs recirculate the money in the economy. They don’t create new money.”

Retail is the second target for economic development because it moves the money around the community.

“The more time you use money in the community the better,” she said.

One problem in New Mexico is employment by government intities is very high, according to Pink.

“But these jobs get their payroll from taxes which is recirculated money, not new money,” she said.

To promote a community to new business, Pink said to look at what the community has to offer and use it.

“Opportunity is what we make of it,” she said. “You need to survey existing business and see what they want to do to grow, what their difficulties are, and what their needs are.”

She said through this confidential survey an economic developer can respond to issues and support opportunities.

“Businesses can get help with their issues through such agencies as the Small Business Development Center, like the one here at UNM-Valencia Campus,” she said. “Roberta Scott is a certified economic developer and understands what it takes to grow an economy.”

Pink listed strategies to growing the economy as:

  • Develop new location strategy for attracting base jobs.
  • Keep what you have and grow it.
  • Start up businesses.
  • Make the community the best place possible to live.

“Recruitment of new companies to the area is very expensive in terms of market,” she said. “It is a long term effort with slow pay back in relationship to the time and money spent.”

Recruiting is also difficult for small rural communities, according to Pink.

“Traditionally they don’t do it well along because of the cost and time. This is why they should join their efforts with a regional effort.”

She added “what ever you do, you must network, look for cooperative opportunities, build memorandums of understanding among local organizations and remember that competitors are really your allies.”

One such organization is the New Mexico Alliance which is sponsored by PNM.

“This organization shares the marketing costs for promoting the region. They send packages about what the members have to offer,” she said of the organization which costs $5,000 for a community to join. “They work fair and as hard for the region as individual party.”

What’s your Reaction?
Jane Moorman