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N.M. Jobless Rate Static

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New Mexico added 5,900 jobs between January 2011 and January 2012, the sixth straight month of year-over-year job growth, according to the state Workforce Solutions Department on Tuesday.

The state’s unemployment rate of 7 percent was unchanged from December but down from 7.7 percent a year earlier.

The unemployment rate fell in 45 states in January, according to the federal Labor Department, and remained unchanged in four states. Only New York, at 8.3 percent, reported an increase in its unemployment rate.

In December, unemployment rates improved in 37 states, remained unchanged in 10 states and worsened in three states.

The nation’s unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in January from 8.5 percent in December. Employers added 284,000 jobs, the second-highest number of hires in six years.

The nation’s lowest unemployment rate, 3.2 percent, was in North Dakota, site of an oil boom, followed by Nebraska at 4 percent and South Dakota at 4.2 percent.

Nevada had the nation’s highest unemployment rate, at 12.7 percent. California and Rhode Island each had 10.9 percent unemployment rates.

Workforce Solutions this month began releasing partial employment data about a week earlier than in the past. The department said its data releases will be supplemented later this month with more details and explanations of factors driving the numbers.

New Mexico has been adding jobs at a 0.7 percent rate in the 12-month period that ended in January, the department reported.

The Albuquerque area lost 5,655 jobs between December and January, and the unemployment rate increased from 7 percent to 7.6 percent. However, Workforce Solutions said data at the local level have not yet been adjusted for seasonal factors. That suggests worsening unemployment in the state’s four major urban areas is connected in part to the end of temporary jobs added during the Christmas season.

Farmington lost 349 jobs between December and January, Las Cruces lost 3,376 jobs and Santa Fe lost 967. Employment fluctuations in Las Cruces are sometimes attributed to activity at New Mexico State University.

Unemployment was worst in Luna County, at 20 percent, and lowest in Los Alamos County, at 3.4 percent.

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