EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — According to researchers at the University of Texas at El Paso’s Border Region Modeling Project (BRMP), the regional economy will recover despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic — assuming the pandemic doesn’t deteriorate and rate hikes due to rising inflation are not “exaggerated”.
That’s the conclusion of BRMP researchers in the Borderplex Economic Outlook to 2023, published this week. The researchers pointed out that growth will also come amid supply chain disruptions and a 19-month border closure.
“Borderplex’s regional economy has shown admirable resilience in the face of pandemic-related economic difficulties in 2021… Despite multiple downside risks, more good news is expected in 2022.”
Tom Fullerton, Ph.D., UTEP Economics Professor
According to the report, El Paso County’s unemployment rate is projected to continue falling in 2022 and 2023. Employment growth is forecast for the construction industry, the financial sector, healthcare and call centers. El Paso County jobs are expected to grow to over 474,000 by 2023.
In addition, the report noted that after more than 19 months of border travel restrictions at international bridges, car and pedestrian traffic saw a sharp increase as ports of entry successfully reopened in November 2021.
The authors expect that the important cargo traffic at the international ports of entry will set a new traffic record in 2021. Further record volumes are predicted for 2022 and 2023, with the majority of these trucks crossing the Ysleta Zaragoza Bridge.
The report also indicates that the population of Juárez, Mexico, will surpass 1.57 million people by 2023. The number of manufacturing facilities in the city is expected to reach 335, with nominal wages rising to $5.16 an hour by 2023.
In Chihuahua City, Mexico, the number of manufacturing facilities is expected to increase to 112 by 2023, with an average hourly wage of $5.31. As long as the pandemic does not worsen, trade in these two metropolitan areas is expected to recover.
According to the report, the recovery continued for Las Cruces and Southern New Mexico as improved job market conditions helped boost Las Cruces’ population growth in 2021. By 2023, the population of Doña Ana County is expected to reach 227,000.
Total employment in Las Cruces is expected to reach 107,000 by the end of the forecast, with payrolls set to exceed $3.8 billion in 2023.
The report also includes forecasts for commercial activity, residential construction and real estate, non-residential construction and apartments, air transport, hotel activity and water consumption.
The report provides forecasts of demographic trends, economic activity, employment, personal income and other data for El Paso; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Juarez, Mexico; and Chihuahua City, Mexico, by 2023. It is co-authored by Tom Fullerton, Ph.D., UTEP economics professor, and Steven Fullerton, BRMP associate director and staff economist.
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