UTEP Report Forecasts Economic Rebound for the Region Through 2023
Last Updated on January 27, 2022 at 12:00 AM
Originally published January 27, 2022
By MC Staff
El PASO, Texas (Jan. 27, 2022) – Despite challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including supply chain disruptions and a 19-month border closure, the regional economy will bounce back as long as the pandemic does not worsen, and interest rate hikes caused by rising inflation are not excessive. Researchers from The University of Texas at El Paso’s Border Region Modeling Project (BRMP) reached this conclusion in the Borderplex Economic Outlook to 2023, released this week.
The report contains forecasts of demographic trends, economic activity, employment, personal income and other data for El Paso; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Juárez, Mexico; and Chihuahua City, Mexico, through 2023. It is co-authored by Tom Fullerton, Ph.D., UTEP economics professor, and Steven Fullerton, BRMP associate director and staff economist.
“The Borderplex regional economy exhibited admirable resiliency in the face of pandemic-related economic difficulties in 2021,” Tom Fullerton said. “In spite of several downside risks, additional good news is expected in 2022.”
According to the report, the El Paso County jobless rate is expected to continue to fall in 2022 and 2023. Job growth is predicted for the construction industry, the financial sector, healthcare services and call centers. Jobs in El Paso County are expected to exceed 474,000 by 2023.
After more than 19 months of border travel restrictions at the international bridges, automobile and pedestrian traffic experienced a sharp increase when the ports of entry successfully re-opened in November 2021, the report found. The authors expect essential cargo traffic at the international ports of entry to set a new traffic record in 2021. Additional record-breaking volumes are predicted for 2022 and 2023, with the majority of those trucks crossing the Ysleta-Zaragoza bridge.
The report indicates that the population in Juárez, Mexico, will surpass 1.57 million people by 2023. The number of manufacturing plants in the city is predicted to reach 335, with nominal wages climbing to $5.16 per hour by 2023. In Chihuahua City, Mexico, the number of manufacturing plants is anticipated to be at 112 by 2023 with the average hourly wage at $5.31. As long as the pandemic does not worsen, commerce is expected to rebound in both of those metropolitan economies.
Improved labor market conditions helped stimulate Las Cruces population growth in 2021. By 2023, the population of Doña Ana County is projected to reach 227,000. Total employment in Las Cruces is expected to reach 107,000 by the end of the forecast with wage and salary disbursements exceeding $3.8 billion in 2023.
The report also includes projections for commercial activity, residential construction and real estate, nonresidential construction and apartments, air transportation, hotel activity and water consumption.
About The University of Texas at El Paso
The University of Texas at El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic-serving university. Located at the westernmost tip of Texas, where three states and two countries converge along the Rio Grande, 94% of our more than 24,000 students are minorities, and half are the first in their families to go to college. UTEP offers 169 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs at the only open-access, top tier research university in America.