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New Mexico’s unemployment rate drops again

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico’s unemployment rate dropped by nearly two percentage points in October, but remained above the national average, according to new numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

New Mexico posted a preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 8.1% in October, down from September’s figures, which were revised by the Bureau to 9.9%.

The new numbers continue a trend of steady decline for New Mexico’s unemployment rate, which peaked in July at 12.7%. However, New Mexico’s unemployment rate remained higher than the national rate, which stood at 6.9% in October.

Just six states – California, Hawaii, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey and New York – and Washington D.C. posted higher unemployment rates than New Mexico in October, according to the federal data.

As has been the case for much of the year, the highest employment losses in New Mexico are concentrated in the state’s leisure and hospitality sector.

The sector, which includes the state’s tourism industry, added 1,500 jobs in October, but has shed 20,200 jobs overall since last October, according to data from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.

Employment in mining and construction declined by 13.8%, with the majority of job losses concentrated in the mining subsector, which includes oil and gas jobs. Employment in the education and health services sector declined by 13.1% year over year.

Around the state, Luna County posted the state’s highest unemployment rate in October, followed by Lea County. Los Alamos County posted the lowest rate, according to the workforce department.

The federal unemployment data is largely based on a survey of households, rather than the number of new unemployment claims, according to a news release from the BLS.

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