ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Job growth in the Albuquerque metro area was the bright spot in New Mexico during November, adding 7,200 jobs for a 1.9 percent growth rate year over year and offsetting declines in the state’s other three metros, the Department of Workforce Solutions reported Monday.
Albuquerque’s growth was enough for New Mexico as a whole to post a gain of 3,000 jobs or 0.4 percent in November compared to a year earlier. The metro’s year-over-year job growth rate was also equal to the national average of 1.9 percent.
“The Albuquerque metro is almost 47 percent of the state’s economy based on employment,” said Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry in a statement.
“It is a testament to the business community and the job creators that we are now on par, or ahead, of our peer cities in the region,” he said. “We will continue to do our part as local government to create a business climate that will allow for job creators to thrive.”
Albuquerque has only recently moved to the forefront of the state’s economic recovery, according to state labor data. The metro’s unemployment rate dropped below the state average in late 2014, and the metro’s job growth rate only got consistently better than the state average beginning last April.
Albuquerque experienced a steady job drain from 2008 to early 2013, a more than four-year span when the Great Recession and its after-effects gripped the local economy.
As of November, the employment sector posting the biggest year-over-year gain in Albuquerque was professional and business services, often considered a bellwether of the economy because it includes a broad swath of white-collar jobs.
“After stagnating around zero through much of 2014, growth has remained consistently at or above 1,500 jobs in 2015, and November’s gain of 4,000 jobs, or 7.0 percent, exceeded anything seen in over 20 years,” says the department’s monthly Labor Market Review about professional and business services.
Albuquerque’s most consistently growing employment sector, education and health services, added 1,600 jobs in November, representing an increase of 2.6 percent.
The retail employment sector registered an additional 2,600 jobs from October to November, for a 6.3 percent jump indicative of the ramp-up in hiring for the holidays. Year over year, however, retail employment was flat compared to November 2014.
The Las Cruces metro area, which encompasses all of Doña Ana County, lost 1,200 jobs in November compared to a year earlier, representing a decline of 1.7 percent. Five employment sectors, including professional and business services, posted job losses.
The Santa Fe metro saw employment drop by 300 jobs for a year-over-year decline of 0.5 percent. The report says, “The MSA has only seen four months of growth over the last two years.”
The Farmington metro, which covers San Juan County, lost 1,100 job or 2 percent in November compared to a year earlier, the greatest loss in total employment since October 2013. All the job losses were in the private sector.