Mid-Skill Jobs Lacking Employees in New Mexico

September 04, 2014

A new report by the National Skills Coalition found that the U.S. has a large gap between the number of middle-skill jobs and the number of middle-skill workers, leaving many positions unfilled.

According to the report, New Mexico has a smaller gap, but there are still more middle-skill jobs than middle-skill workers.
Middle-skill jobs are defined as those that require more training than a high school education, but less than a full four-year college degree. Nationwide, about 54 percent of jobs are middle-skill jobs, but only 44 percent of workers are trained to the middle-skill level. Low-skill and high-skill jobs have gaps in the opposite direction, with more workers at both levels than there are positions available for them.

The gap is less pronounced in New Mexico, but still present. According to the report, 51 percent of jobs in New Mexico are middle-skill jobs, but only 46 percent of workers are middle-skill workers. New Mexico also has slightly more high-level jobs than high-level workers, with about 30 percent of the workforce trained to the high-skill level, with about 31 percent of jobs requiring high-skilled employees.

Low-skill jobs are more plentiful than low-skill workers, however, presumably accounting for much of the state’s unemployment.

“All too often, key industries in our country are unable to find enough sufficiently trained workers to fill these jobs,” the report noted. This skill gap keeps states’ economies from growing and employers from hiring. States can close their middle-skill gaps by adopting policies that support sector partnerships and career pathways, and by making job-driven investments.”