SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico is rapidly rebuilding financial reserves that may help state government withstand future economic downturns.

Chief Economist Jon Clark of the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee said Monday that the state’s recently depleted savings have substantially grown.

He says the state had set aside an estimated $500 million as of the start of the fiscal year on July 1.

That is equal to about 8 percent of New Mexico’s annual general fund spending obligations. A leading credit ratings agency recommends 10 percent reserves or greater to weather recessions.

The estimate signals a potentially rapid financial turnaround for state finances that were hit hard by a 2015 downturn in the oil sector.

Spending was slashed at public colleges and several state agencies earlier this year to offset faltering tax revenues.