Unemployment numbers drop locally and across the state

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON There is some good economic news for both New Mexico as a whole and the Farmington area specifically as the unemployment rate for both dropped again in May.

According to figures from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the jobless rate across the state declined from 5.3% in April to 5.1% in May. Unemployment fell even faster in the Farmington metropolitan statistical area, going from 5.1% in April to 4.7% in May.

But joblessness remains higher in New Mexico than it does across the entire country, even though the state slowly is making up ground.

The U.S. unemployment rate for May was 3.6%, which was the same rate as April and March.New Mexico continued to post the highest jobless rate of all 50 states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is the only state in the country where the jobless rate is 5% or more. May was the fifth consecutive month in which the state led the country in unemployment.

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Nevada was next on the list, coming in 49th at 4.9%, and Alaska was 48th at 4.7%. Nebraska had the lowest jobless rate in the country in May at 1.9%, while Utah and Minnesota were both at 2%. A total of five states – Montana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin – reported slight increases.

New Mexico's unemployment rate a year ago was 7.2%, while the national rate at that time was 5.8%. The jobless rate in the Farmington MSA in May 2021 was 7.9%.

The Farmington area continued to post the highest unemployment rate among the state's four metropolitan statistical areas. The Santa Fe MSA fared best with a jobless rate of 3.5%, down from 3.7% in April, while the Albuquerque area was second at 3.7%, a decline from 4% a month earlier. The Las Cruces MSA registered an unemployment rate of 4.4% in May, down from 4.8% in April.

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Luna County once again had he highest jobless rate in New Mexico at 11.5%, although that was a significant decrease from the 13.3% rate it posted in April. Sierra County was second at 6.5%, while Taos and More counties tied for third at 5.9%, followed by McKinley County (5.6%), Cibola County (5.5%), Torrance and Lea counties (5.4%) and Guadalupe County (5.3%).

San Juan County (4.7%) has fallen to 10th on that list after ranking near the top for much of the last two years.As usual, Los Alamos County had the lowest jobless rate in New Mexico at 1.9%, while Union County was second at 2.6%. Curry and De Baca counties were next at 3%, followed by Harding County (3.2%), Roosevelt County (3.3%) and Hidalgo County (3.4%).

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com.

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