Economic Impact 2021: New data shows spending $505 million with New Mexico businesses and $1.3 billion in employee salaries

January 25, 2022

The Laboratory offers free technical assistance to burgeoning businesses. Lab researchers helped Tosidoh, a Navajo-owned, veteran-owned business, investigate the geothermal resources and the aquifer below Tohatchi, N.M., as part of the company’s plans to create a long-term, food-water-energy nexus on the Navajo Nation, stimulating the local economy while helping New Mexico transition to a carbon-free energy portfolio. The New Mexico Small Business Assistance program connected business leaders Chris Deschenie and Sam Woods with Lab subject-matter experts and technologies.

New data for fiscal year 2021 shows Los Alamos National Laboratory’s big impact on New Mexico’s economy, as the Laboratory employed 12,919 people for a total of $1.3 billion in salaries and spent $505 million with businesses statewide.

“Los Alamos National Laboratory is a major economic driver in the region, and we are committed to strengthening local companies and growing the local workforce,” said Thom Mason, Laboratory director.

Buying from New Mexico businesses

The Laboratory prioritizes contracting with New Mexico businesses, including small businesses that are disadvantaged, owned by minority groups, and/or located in areas in need of economic development. In FY 2021, the Lab spent the following in the state*:

  • Disadvantaged small business: $158,249,718
  • HUB zone-located small business: $44,740,926
  • Native American small business: $4,970,394
  • Veteran-owned small business: $25,627,635
  • Women-owned small business: $122,791,794
  • 8(a) NM small business: $1,697,694

*Note that a given business may fit into more than one category.

In the coming years, the Laboratory intends to expand spending in the above categories as it works toward aggressive goals for collaborating with more small businesses.


Laboratory employees spend their salaries—a collective $1.3 billion­­—primarily in their home communities. With 60% of Laboratory employees living outside Los Alamos County, these dollars are distributed throughout northern New Mexico.

Employee salaries by county:

  • Los Alamos County: $638 million
  • Santa Fe County: $332 million
  • Rio Arriba County: $147 million
  • Bernalillo County: $56 million
  • Sandoval County: $49 million
  • Taos County: $16 million
  • Other: $20 million

In FY 2021, the number of Laboratory employees reached 12,919 (not including contractors), up from 12,367 in FY 2020. As of the end of FY 2021, 40.2% of Laboratory employees were native New Mexicans. Furthermore, 30.2% of employees have at least one degree from a New Mexico college or university.

Economic development

Each year, the Laboratory invests and partners in economic development initiatives that stimulate business growth, create jobs, and strengthen communities—particularly those in the seven counties surrounding the Laboratory: Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Miguel, Santa Fe and Taos. One such initiative, the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program (NMSBA), enables small businesses to solve technical challenges by pairing them with free subject-matter experts and cutting-edge technologies at Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories. Additionally, Triad National Security, the Laboratory’s management contractor, is a major supporter of the Regional Development Corporation (RDC), an Española-based nonprofit, which provides programs in workforce training, business retention and business expansion to communities and Native American pueblos in the same seven-county region.

In FY 2021, Laboratory-supported programs with NMSBA and RDC:

  • Conducted 117 projects with 174 New Mexico small businesses
  • Attracted $25 million in new financing
  • Created or retained 501 non-Laboratory jobs with salaries totaling $17 million

For more facts and figures, visit 2021 Economic Impact on New Mexico.