Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Santa Fe Lost 500 Jobs in November
By Mark Oswald
Of the Journal
SANTA FE Santa Fe had a net loss of 500 jobs in November, with biggest hit on permanent employment coming in the city's hospitality sector, according to the latest state report on jobs in New Mexico.
For the year, Santa Fe has a net job loss of 600, or 0.9 percent, according to the monthly report from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (formerly the Department of Labor).
The net loss of jobs, which started in June, is the first instance of negative job growth in Santa Fe since 2001.
Unemployment in Santa Fe for November was 3.6 percent down slightly from 3.7 percent in October but up considerably from the 2.6 percent unemployment rate in November 2007.
"Overall, the Santa Fe job market has stagnated in recent months, with only five of the area's 12 (industry categories) adding jobs," said the report, released last week.
Santa Fe lost 300 jobs at area hotels and restaurants in November, the report states.
Occupancy rates for Santa Fe hotels have been crashing over the past three months.
Hotel operators have acknowledged there have been layoffs in recent weeks. In November, only about 44 percent of hotel rooms were filled, down from 53 percent for the same month in 2007. It was the first time the average occupancy rate had dropped below 50 percent in 10 months.
Construction jobs also dropped, by 100, for November. There was a 200-job loss in the professional and business services category and another 100 jobs disappeared from the miscellaneous "other services" area.
The overall drop for the month was also a result of 300 temporary film industry jobs including many that had just been added to the employment rolls in the previous two months going away in November.
In the tough economic times, Santa Fe is apparently relying on the bedrock of its local middle class: government.
The state report says that government employment grew significantly in November by 300 jobs, all in local government positions, not state or federal agencies. But that gain only got government employment back up to the same level it was for the same month in 2007.
Of Santa Fe's 65,100 jobs, 16,700 almost 26 percent are in state, local or federal government, according to the labor department.
Jobs in retail and the wholesale trade were also up slightly in November.
Santa Fe's biggest job gains for 2008 have been in educational and health services, up 300 jobs year-to-year.