NM's unemployment rate highest of any state in US - Albuquerque Journal

NM’s unemployment rate highest of any state in US

Owner and chef Bruno Barachin of La Quiche Parisienne Bistro prepares food during the lunch hour Thursday. Barachin says he has struggled to find new employees. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal )

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

It’s a Thursday morning and La Quiche Parisienne Bistro owner Bruno Barachin is baking pastries and quiche to stock his shelves for customers looking to grab a bite.

Customers are flooding into the Northeast Heights eatery and one employee is working the register and waiting tables.

Barachin is having a hard time finding workers – he says he needs a new cook, a dishwasher and two more servers – even despite offering between $12 and $16 an hour.

“Some people stay one day, two days and then quit,” Barachin said.

Barachin’s issue in finding employees follows a statewide trend of businesses struggling to find workers.

Yet New Mexico’s unemployment rate was the highest of any state in January, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate for New Mexico stood at 5.9%, according to the data, with the District of Columbia coming in last at a rate of 6.3%. Nationally, the unemployment rate stands at 4%.

“There’s tons of jobs out there,” said Ruby Quintana, branch manager for Express Employment Professionals in Albuquerque. “I don’t know of (any company) that is paying minimum wage anymore.”

(New Mexico’s statewide minimum wage increased to $11.50 in January.)

Barachin acknowledged that job seekers are wanting more money – and for good reasons.

“It’s not enough,” Barachin said of the pay he is offering at his bakery. “Why? Rent has gone up; gas has gone up – everything has gone up. … We understand.”

The unemployment rate was slightly higher than the previously recorded month in December 2021, when about 5.8% of the state’s workforce remained jobless. And a year-over-year comparison to January 2021 shows that New Mexico’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.4%.

In Bernalillo County, the state’s most populous county, the unemployment rate stood at 4.9%.

But despite the high unemployment rate, New Mexico has realized job growth in some industries.

Notably, nonagricultural employment in the state grew by 46,700 jobs, or about 6%, from January 2021 to January 2022. And leisure and hospitality has seen the largest year-over-year increase of more than 25,000 jobs, or 37.1%, according to the Department of Workforce Solutions Labor Market Review report.

Of the leisure and hospitality sector, Albuquerque saw an increase of nearly 11,000 jobs – a 36% increase from the previous year. In total, the city saw a jobs increase of 22,000 from January 2021, according to the report.

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said he understands people wanting more money and better benefits. But a sense of “inertia” may have set in for some prospective job seekers who remained home during the pandemic, or those who may have health concerns, he added.

“Employees are in a stronger position than they have been in a long time,” Black said.

But job seekers looking for higher paying jobs are not always qualified for those positions. Black said businesses can pay for – or offer – training programs to prospective employees.

“If we can get our workforce and education system better aligned,” Black said, “we are in a good spot.”

Home » ABQnews Seeker » NM’s unemployment rate highest of any state in US


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
City, county detect first West Nile-positive mosquitoes of 2022
ABQnews Seeker
Routine monitoring has detected the Albuquerque ... Routine monitoring has detected the Albuquerque metro area's first West Nile-positive mosquitoes of 2022, city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County officials announced Friday. They ...
2
Vomiting causes can be elusive
ABQnews Seeker
It’s nobody’s favorite pastime. Sadly, some ... It’s nobody’s favorite pastime. Sadly, some cats retch intermittently throughout their lives
3
Tears of joy fill Isotopes' locker room after Bernard ...
ABQnews Seeker
After more than 1,000 games and ... After more than 1,000 games and a decade in the minors, Wynton Bernard gets his Major League call up to the Colorado Rockies.
4
As lawmakers eye changes, NM gets low marks for ...
ABQnews Seeker
Legislature looking to retool structure amid ... Legislature looking to retool structure amid ongoing revenue boom
5
Republicans open Hispanic community center in ABQ
ABQnews Seeker
GOP aims to attract groups who ... GOP aims to attract groups who typically vote Democrat
6
Forensics return from ‘Rust’ set
ABQnews Seeker
Sheriff's Office says agency still needs ... Sheriff's Office says agency still needs to review Alec Baldwin's phone records
7
Los Ranchos delays action on developments
ABQnews Seeker
Board adjourns after hours of comment ... Board adjourns after hours of comment without decision
8
Four suspects charged in 2021 carjacking-homicide
ABQnews Seeker
Alleged shooter, 3 others face multiple ... Alleged shooter, 3 others face multiple counts
9
SUV rams police vehicle, injuring one officer
ABQnews Seeker
Rio Rancho police fire at vehicle; ... Rio Rancho police fire at vehicle; driver detained