NM unemployment rate drops to lowest since June 2008 - Albuquerque Journal

NM unemployment rate drops to lowest since June 2008

Kathleen Salgado, left, accompanies Majik Allen, right, as they searched for jobs at the 10th Annual Sen. Michael Padilla Job Fair at Harrison Middle School in July. The unemployment rate in November stood at 4.1%, the lowest it has been since June 2008. (Chancey Bush/Journal)

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New Mexico’s unemployment rate in November is down to 4.1%, the lowest rate this year and the lowest it has been since June 2008.

Previously, September, which had a rate of 4.2%, saw the lowest rate this year.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham praised the new, low rate in a statement.

“Our sustained investments in economic growth and workforce development have once-again brought New Mexico’s unemployment rate to a 14-year low,” Lujan Grisham said.

The drop in the state’s unemployment rate has followed a steady trend since record highs seen during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent time, the state had seen a high of 9.8% in May 2020 as many people were out of work due to COVID restrictions.

But it has also dropped significantly since January, when the rate was at 5.9% in New Mexico.

Nationally, the unemployment rate in November was 3.7% – unchanged from October.

Cathryn Cunningham/Journal

 

New Mexico, in previous months, had one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country.

This fall, the rate began to drop and New Mexico no longer led the way. Now, the state is tied with West Virginia and California. Nine states and the District of Columbia have higher rates of unemployment, according to federal data, and Utah had the lowest unemployment rate last month at 2.2%.

Reilly White, an associate professor with the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management, said the unemployment rate – though lower than the national average – shows that the state is nearly at full employment. But there may be some things to watch out for, such as the Federal Reserve’s continued fight against inflation with the raising of rates.

“People who are looking for work are generally able to find jobs. That’s a good sign (for) the New Mexico economy,” White said. “As we look ahead, though, there are some doldrums on the horizon for the economy. … Likely the consequences will be higher unemployment levels a year from now.”

Total nonfarm payroll grew by 24,500 jobs year over year, according to a New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions report, which translates to a nearly 3% increase.

The private sector saw the highest gains in that arena, up 21,300 jobs. The public sector was up 3,200 jobs, according to the DWS report.

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