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Jobless Rate Creeps Higher

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Unemployment rates rose in 44 U.S. states including New Mexico in July, the most states to show a monthly increase in more than three years and a reflection of weak hiring around the country.

The U.S. Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in only two states and were unchanged in four.

New Mexico’s jobless rate rose to 6.6 percent in July, up from 6.5 percent in June and down from 7.5 percent in July of last year.

The state’s rate of over-the-year job growth, comparing July 2012 with July 2011, was negative 0.4 percent, representing a loss of 2,800 jobs, state Workforce Solutions spokeswoman Joy Forehand said in a news release.

This was the second consecutive month of decline following 10 months of year-over-year growth averaging about 0.4 percent.

The educational and health services sectors gained 3,200 jobs, again posting the largest increase, followed closely by leisure and hospitality, up 2,800. The mining industry – which includes oil and gas operations – gained 1,400 jobs, continuing growth that has persisted for more than two years, and manufacturing added 1,000, the department said.

Professional and business services in New Mexico shed 4,400 jobs from a year earlier, marking 11 straight months of decreases totaling at least 1,000 jobs. Losses at all three component levels – federal, state, and local – reduced government payrolls by 3,900 jobs, while information and miscellaneous other services each shed 1,000.

New Mexico county unemployment rates, not seasonally adjusted, included highs of 13 percent in Mora, 10.4 percent in Guadalupe, 9.9 percent in McKinley, 9.5 percent in Taos and 8.9 percent in Sandoval, to lows of 3.7 percent in Los Alamos, 4.2 percent in De Baca, 4.3 percent in Harding, 4.4 percent in Eddy, 4.6 percent in Lea and 4.6 percent in Union, according to department data.

Bernalillo County posted a 7.6 percent unemployment rate, according to the department. Valencia’s rate was 8.7 percent, Torrance’s 8.5 percent and Santa Fe’s 5.8 percent.

Nationally, unemployment rates rose in nine states that are considered battlegrounds in the presidential election. The economy hasn’t been growing fast enough to generate more hiring. It expanded at an annual rate of only 1.5 percent in the April-June quarter, down from 2 percent in the first quarter and 4.1 percent in the final three months of last year.

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