Home-based workforce in state higher than average


New Mexico has a higher percentage of home-based workers than the United States average and more of those workers are older than 65.

That might not be a surprise considering the state is still a destination for those at or nearing retirement and working from home for a national company or organization remains a way for older workers to keep some connection to their career while moving where they want.

Tracy Shaleen, state Department of Workforce Solutions economist, runs the data on home-based workers in the recent issue of the New Mexico Labor Market Report, which was published May 26. His analysis is based on new numbers from the U.S. Census' American Community Survey and indicates the state had 40,824 home-based workers during the most recent five-year survey period, 2011-15, and that comprises 4.7 percent of the state workforce.

The national average for home-based workers is 4.4 percent and New Mexico's population ranks it 18th overall in the percent of at-home workers. Colorado and Vermont have the highest home-based workforce in the country at 6.7 percent. Mississippi has the lowest at 2.2 percent.

"Recent technological advances particularly in communications and computing have increased U.S. mobility and flexibility, rapidly expanding the ranks of those who work at home," writes Shaleen.

While the average age for home-based workers across the United States is 47.6 years, it is five years older in New Mexico. The 55-and-over age group that worked from home represented 31 percent in the United States, but 43.8 percent in New Mexico.

And, of all those working from home who are age 65 and older, the group is even more disproportional in New Mexico - 16 percent of the at-home workers in New Mexico fall into that age group, while nationally the number falls at 5.4 percent.

As far as occupations go, at-home workers in New Mexico tend to be clustered in management, business, arts and sciences. The areas of financial services, real estate and sales take in the largest chunk of this sector. The highest occupation percentage overall of home workers in New Mexico is in the category of education, social services and public assistance - so those in tutoring, teaching, social work, counseling and therapy make up 1 in 4 home-based workers, according to the analysis.