Central New Mexico has two economies - the urban economy of metro Albuquerque (which includes Rio Rancho and surrounding communities) and the rural economy of the outlying area. Busy retail centers can be found in all four counties. Albuquerque is a health-care, financial and transportation center for the state, while agriculture - particularly in Torrance and Valencia counties - is a mainstay.

Much of the region's economy rests on Kirtland Air Force Base, the University of New Mexico, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque Public Schools and such private employers as Intel, Presbyterian Health Care, and Public Service Company of New Mexico.

Albuquerque's economy has steadily diversified from its former dependence on government jobs to a broad-based economy with high-tech and manufacturing sectors, food processing, call centers, film and media, tourism, and the arts. High-tech clusters include aerospace and aviation, bioscience, electronics, information technology and software, micro- and nanotech, and optics.