April 21, 2017

NM unemployment rate continues to lead nation


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The unemployment rate in New Mexico remains the highest in the nation, with no change from the last time numbers were released.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday that New Mexico’s nonfarm, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March was 6.7 percent for the second consecutive month.

Meanwhile the nationwide unemployment rate dropped from 4.7 percent in February to 4.5 percent in April, with 17 states seeing lower rates and 33 states, including New Mexico, with stable rates.

New Mexico’s neighbor to the north, Colorado, had the lowest employment rate in the nation March—just 2.6 percent. Utah had an unemployment rate of 3.1 percent and Arizona and Texas each had rates of 5 percent.

The next-highest unemployment rate in the country was Alaska, at 6.4 percent. No other state had an unemployment rate above 5.8 percent, and most states had unemployment rates of below 5 percent.

New Mexico saw 300 fewer people on payrolls in March than in February. But for year-over-year numbers, there were 7,400 more New Mexicans employed in March 2017 than in March of 2016.

Manufacturing continued to shed jobs, with 1,000 fewer people employed in March 2017 than in March 2016, with 300 of those jobs lost in between this February and March. Construction, however, saw another 1,800 jobs between March 2016 and March 2017 including 500 jobs between February and March of 2017.

In all, the nationwide economy added 98,000 jobs in March.

New Mexico’s unemployment rate has largely been in the same area for the past four years. The state hit its highest unemployment rate of 6.9 percent multiple times in 2013 and 2014. Its lowest rate was 6.4 percent in November and December of 2014. Since hitting the post-Great Recession peak of 6.9 percent in 2014, the state unemployment rate has been between 6.5 percent and 6.8 percent.