Recover password

NM has nation’s highest jobless rate for third consecutive month

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico, for the third consecutive month, has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, while neighbor Colorado has the lowest rate, according to figures released by the federal government Friday.

The state’s rate for March is 6.7 percent, a slight drop from February’s 6.8 percent. The only other state with an unemployment rate above 6 percent was Alaska, the second-highest in the nation at 6.4 percent.

New Mexico’s job growth was 0.8 percent compared to March 2016, the state Department of Workforce Solutions reported. That was more than twice as large as the year-over-year growth in February.

In particular, private-sector employment was up 1.2 percent in New Mexico. That was the biggest gain since July 2015 — good news for a state that is trying to reduce its dependence on government jobs.

The largest numeric gain in the state came from the leisure and hospitality sector, which was up 4.0 percent. That’s the biggest jump since November 2006, the state reported.

Colorado, with a March unemployment rate of 2.6 percent, was among four states with the lowest rates since 1976. The other states are Arkansas, Maine and Oregon.

The national unemployment rate last month was 4.5 percent, slightly lower than in February.