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NM adds jobs but stuck near bottom on employment

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico’s unemployment rate of 6.3 percent continued to hold the ranking of second-worst in the nation last month, although there was a bright spot for the state among the job figures that were released Friday.

New Mexico last month had the largest percentage increase — 0.7 percent — in nonfarm payroll employment in the country in August compared to the month before, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistices. That represents 5,700 jobs added between July and August. In terms of raw numbers, Georgia had the largest increase, adding 19,800 jobs.

Over the year, New Mexico’s job growth was up 1 percent, or 8,600 jobs, according to the state’s Department of Workforce Solutions. The state generally measures job growth from year to year rather than from one month to the next.

Some specifics, according to Workforce Solutions:

–The jobs increase in August came entirely from the private sector. Private industries as a whole increased by 10,500 jobs, or 1.9 percent.

— Government employment fell by 4,400 jobs, or 2.4 percent.

— Leisure and hospitality was the leading industry, adding 4,000 jobs, for a 4 percent increase. In fact, the industry, which includes tourism-related businesses, has not posted an over-the-year loss since September 2010.

— For the fifth month in a row, construction reported the fastest percentage growth of any industry at 7 percent.

As for unemployment, Alaska again held the worst-state title, with a jobless rate of 7.2 percent.

North Dakota and Colorado had the lowest unemployment rates in August at 2.3 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. The national unemployment rate was 4.4 percent, up from 4.3 percent in July.

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