Market/Economic Analysis & Economic Development Strategy for Lea County &
the Cities of Hobbs & Lovington
Client: The Lea County Community Improvement Corporation
The Lea County Community Improvement Corporation (“LCCIC”) recognizes the need to improve the economic, fiscal, and social vitality of Lea County and its largest cities, Hobbs and Lovington (New Mexico). LCCIC retained Gruen Gruen + Associates (“GG+A”) to conduct market and economic research and analysis in order to complete an independent assessment of conditions in and trends affecting Lea County, Hobbs, and Lovington.
GG+A’s research and analysis included:
- Developing an information base and strategic framework for the implementation of an ongoing economic development program;
- Identifying opportunities and constraints for attracting and retaining desirable businesses;
- Identifying the comparative advantages that these target industries derive from a Lea County location; and
- Identifying the economic development policies and actions that enhance private sector economic conditions and capabilities.
In order to accomplish the study objectives, GG+A performed the following tasks:
- Data collection and analysis of relevant demographic, housing, and labor force characteristics for Lea County, Hobbs, and Lovington;
- Data collection and analysis of employment change and shifts in the share of employment by economic sector over time and between areas within the local and regional economies and analysis of gross receipt trends by economic sector and jurisdiction in order to: (a) derive a profile of the economic structure and employment base; and (b) identify potential growth industries for Lea County, Hobbs, and Lovington;
- A survey and analysis of its results of a sample of industrial and non-industrial firms, and interviews with real estate developers and real estate brokers, merchants, farmers, oil and gas experts, manufacturers, and representatives of healthcare providers and educational institutions as well as municipal and economic development professionals to: (a) identify the assets and liabilities of Lea County from the perspective of firms that are currently located in the County; (b) ascertain the factors important in attracting new firms and encouraging the health and retention of existing firms in Lea County and to identify the factors inhibiting industrial and non-industrial development; and (c) obtain insights on the types of industries likely to be attracted to and expand in Lea County;
- Reconnaissance of retail conditions to: (a) compile an information base on retail sales’ activity for Lea County, Lovington, and Hobbs; (b) complete an assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the area’s retailing base; and (c) estimate the demand for retail space;
- An analysis of the changing agricultural economy in Lea County; and
- Synthesized the results, conclusions, and recommendations associated with the research and analysis undertaken by GG+A into elements of a strategic action economic development plan. The plan contains (a) a summary of identified opportunities and constraints; (b) primary target industries; and (c) the rationale for their selection. The plan reflects the resources and strengths of the County, Hobbs, and Lovington and identifies the locally implementable policies and actions that will help indigenous and complementary new businesses create and sustain their competitive advantages so they succeed, remain, and grow in the County.