Unemployment falls to 3.5% across New Mexico, declining sharply in population centers

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

There was plenty of good news when the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions released March unemployment data on April 21, with joblessness falling statewide and in all four metropolitan areas.

New Mexico’s unemployment rate for March was 3.5%, down from 3.6% in February. That figure also matched the national unemployment rate of 3.5% and was tied for 28th in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. South Dakota had the lowest jobless rate in the country at 1.9%, while Nevada was highest at 5.5%.

The jobless rate fell more sharply in the state’s population centers. The Farmington Metropolitan Statistical Area saw the biggest decline, from 4.6% to 3.6%. The unemployment rate a year ago in the Farmington area was 5.2%.

That 3.6% rate in the Farmington MSA was only marginally higher than the 3.4% rate the area posted in December 2022. That was the lowest jobless rate in the area since at least January 2016, according to Department of Workforce Solutions data — a period of more than seven years.

The Santa Fe MSA had the lowest jobless rate among the state’s four MSAs at 2.7%, down from 3.4% in February. Albuquerque was next at 2.8%, a decline from March’s 2.6%.

The Las Cruces area had the highest unemployment rate of the state’s four MSAs, registering 3.9% in March, down from 4.7% in February.

Luna County once again registered the highest jobless rate in New Mexico in March, coming in at 11.8%, although that was down from 13.4% in February. Adjoining Sierra County was the only other county in the state with an unemployment rate of more than 5%, as it posted a rate of 6.3%.

At the other end of the spectrum, Los Alamos again had the lowest rate in the state at 1.4% and was one of 13 counties in the state with a rate of less than 3%. Eddy and Union counties were next at 2.1%, while Curry County was next at 2.2%. Hidalgo followed at 2.6%, as did Santa Fe and Roosevelt counties at 2.7%. Colfax, Lea, Bernalillo, Sandoval and De Baca counties all came in at 2.8%, while Lincoln County was at 2.9%.

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