Farmington continues to close unemployment gap on state's other three metro areas

State posts jobless rate of 4.2% for September, down slightly from August

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — New Mexico's unemployment rate continued its long downward trend in September, according to figures released late last week by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, while the Farmington area inched closer to the state's other three metropolitan areas in reducing its rate of jobless residents.

The state posted an unemployment rate of 4.2% for September, down from 4.4% in August. That figure remains higher than the national rate of 3.5% for September, which was down from 3.7% in August.

But it helped New Mexico remain in 45th place nationally on the jobless front. After 13 months with the highest unemployment rate in the country, the state began to move up the rankings last month. Illinois has the highest rate of any state at 4.5%, while Nevada and Alaska are next at 4.4%, and New York and Delaware are tied for 46th at 4.3%.

The rate in New Mexico has fallen more quickly over the last year than it has across the rest of the country. The state had a jobless rate of 6.2% in September 2021, compared to a rate of 4.7% for the U.S. a year ago.

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The Farmington metropolitan statistical area continued to post the highest unemployment rate in the state in September at 5.2%, but that was down from 5.3% in August and represented the only decline among the state's four MSAs. Santa Fe once again had the lowest jobless rate in that group at 3.9%, the same figure it registered in August, while Albuquerque was second at 4.2% — a slight increase from the rate of 4.1% it showed in August. Las Cruces was third at 4.7%, which also was slightly higher than the 4.6% rate it achieved in August.

A year ago, unemployment in the Farmington MSA stood at 7.2%, while Las Cruces was at 6.5%. Albuquerque was at 5.8%, and Santa Fe was at 5.5%.

Luna County once again had the highest jobless rate in the state at 9.5% in September, up from the 9% figure it posted in August. Cibola County was next at 6.2%, followed by McKinley and Sierra (6.1%), Torrance (6%), Catron (5.7%), Taos and Lea (5.6%), Colfax (5.5%), San Miguel (5.4%) and Mora counties (5.3%). San Juan County was 12th at 5.2% after finishing tied for 11th a month earlier.

At the other end of the spectrum, Los Alamos County again had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.3%, while Union County was next at 2.9%. Curry, De Baca and Hildago counties tied for third at 3.4%.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.