Research: LANL economic impact is in the billions

January 15, 2019

Los Alamos National Laboratory had an average annual economic impact of $3.1 billion from 2015-17, according to independent research from the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research released Monday.

The same entity pegged the lab’s economic impact at $2.3 billion in a similar 2011 report using 2009 data, said David Moore of the lab’s Community Partnerships Office.

The laboratory’s own year-to-year tabulations determined that about 55 percent of the $756 million spent on goods and services in fiscal 2018 went to New Mexico businesses, up from 45 percent in 2017, but Moore said the reason for the sizable increase was not immediately known.

In terms of land, Los Alamos County is the smallest in New Mexico but the lab provides a big punch across the region.

“Los Alamos National Laboratory is a key employer within our community and a major economic driving force for Northern New Mexico, providing over 10,000 jobs and bringing important economic benefits to our community,” Los Alamos County Public Information Officer Julie Habiger wrote in an email to the New Mexican.

The laboratory in the coming year intends to focus on stimulating new business growth and strengthening existing companies. It is doubling the local price preference from 5 to 10 percent given to contract bids from businesses based in the seven counties surrounding the laboratory, according to a news release.

“Our impact is felt not just in the number of people we employ and the goods and services we procure, but also in the economic development and workforce development initiatives that we proudly support,” Lab Director Thom Mason said in the release.

The lab employed 11,743 people in 2018, an increase of 660 over 2017, with 45 percent living in Los Alamos County, 21 percent in Santa Fe County and 16 percent in Rio Arriba County. Its 534 economic development projects with local small businesses in 2017 created or retained 1,494 jobs with a cumulative payroll of $52.6 million, according to statistics provided by the laboratory.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is operated by Triad National Security, LLC, composed by Battelle Memorial Institute, the Texas A&M University System and the regents of the University of California, operating on behalf of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Until last year, the lab had been operated by a consortium known as Los Alamos National Security, LLC.

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