FARMINGTON — Unemployment in the Farmington area held steady at 6 percent in November to match the statewide average.

The unemployment rate was much improved from November 2011, when 6.6 percent of the local workforce was without a job.

That's according to seasonally unadjusted figures released Friday by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.

Steadiness in the unemployment rate masked a drop in the workforce. The Farmington metropolitan statistical area lost 311 jobs from October to November.

The workforce can shrink as some working-age residents give up looking for work. Also, retirements can outpace new entries into the workforce.

Statewide, New Mexico's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in November 2012, down from 6.3 percent in October and also down from 7.1 percent a year ago.

The state lost 4,800 jobs in the 12 months preceding November.

The current round of job loss started in June after 10 months of job growth, the Department of Workforce Solutions said.

Some industries fared better than others.

Large gains continued to be reported by the leisure and hospitality industry, with a gain of 3,000 jobs statewide since this time last year.

The professional and business services industry reported the loss of 3,900 jobs, and the information industry reported a loss of 900 jobs over the year. Government employment registered a net loss of 4,800 jobs since last year, with job losses reported at the state and federal levels.


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State employment reported 4,300 fewer jobs than last year. Federal government reported that employment was down 1,200 jobs. Local governments had 700 more jobs than this time last year.

Adding to worries in Farmington, the oil and gas industry is largely stagnant. Few new projects are popping up.

Farmington officials are also bracing for the lost of about 300 jobs in spring 2013 when Arizona Public Service Co. decommissions the three oldest units at Four Corners Power Plant. Officials from the plant and adjacent Navajo Mine say the job cuts will be achieved through attrition, not layoffs.