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NM hits 11.3% unemployment

Albuquerque Uptown in late April amid coronavirus-related shutdowns. New Mexico hit 11.3% unemployment in April, the state said. Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico lost more than 90,000 jobs in April, state numbers show.

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions’ monthly labor market report for April showed the state posted a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 11.3%, after shedding 90,800 jobs from April 2019. Additionally, 93,200 jobs were lost from March to April due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the report, which was released Friday.

“Employment fell sharply in all nine major industry sectors, with particularly heavy job losses in leisure and hospitality,” it says.

The state workforce department considered as unemployed those who were not ill or quarantined but said that they did not work because of the coronavirus for the purposes of the report.

The state confirmed April’s unemployment rate was the highest on record for a single month since measurement began in 1976. Still, New Mexico’s unemployment rate was lower than rates in most of its neighboring states, as well as the United States as a whole.

The report shows that Nevada posted the highest unemployment rate among Southwestern states, at 28.3%. California, Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma each had rates that exceeded New Mexico’s in April as well, according to the report. Colorado posted a rate of 11.3% in April, identical to New Mexico’s. The national unemployment rate in April was 14.7%.

Still, the report painted a bleak picture of New Mexico job losses. The leisure and hospitality subsector alone shed 44,000 jobs compared with last April. Education and health service lost 10,300 jobs and retail trade lost 8,500 jobs. The mining and logging subsector, which contains most of the jobs within New Mexico’s oil and gas industry, was down 3,200 jobs compared with last April.

All told, New Mexico’s nonagricultural employment decreased by more than 10% compared with the previous year.

“This decline is the largest in the history of the series and brought employment to its lowest level since February 2003,” the report says.

Metro Albuquerque lost 47,100 jobs since April 2019, a decline of 11.4%. Among New Mexico’s other metro areas, Santa Fe had a 13.3% decline in jobs over the same period, Las Cruces was down 10% and Farmington had a 14.3% drop in employment, according to the report. Harding County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state, at 3.1%. Luna County’s unemployment rate was the highest, at 17.6%.

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