January 26, 2016

NM unemployment rate tops nation—again

Unemployment office sign Flickr/cc

New Mexico once again has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 6.7 percent.

Unemployment office sign Photo Credit: Burt Lum cc

Unemployment office sign Photo Credit: Burt Lum cc

The numbers from December by the Bureau of Labor Statistics represent the second straight month that New Mexico leads the country in unemployment rate.

New Mexico was the only state with a statistically significant year-over-year increase in unemployment, at 0.7 percent from to 6 percent unemployment rate in December of 2014. Meanwhile, 24 states had statistically significant decreases in that same time period.

New Mexico is one of six states, plus the District of Columbia, with an unemployment rate in excess of six percent.

New Mexico did not have a statistically significant change in nonfarm payroll employment.

The labor force continued to fall; there were 912,200 New Mexicans in the civilian labor force in December 2015, compared to 916,700 in December of 2014.

The total number of people employed increased from 827,400 to 830,000 in the same time period. However, the job gains were outstripped by the number of unemployed. This went from 52,000 in December of 2014 to 56,900 in December of 2015.

Construction and manufacturing continue to struggle, dropping from 43,100 to 41,600 and 28,400 to 27,600 respectively. And mining and logging, which includes oil and gas drilling, saw a drop in employment of 2,900 from 28,700 to 25,800.

The price of oil has dropped further since December and more oil and gas companies are cutting back on employment nationwide.

Some bright spots were in the professional and business services and leisure and hospitality industries. The professional and business services industry saw a 2,500 increase in employment, while leisure and hospitality saw a 4,500 person increase.