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November unemployment figures for NM, county show ups, downs

State's rate registers in middle of pack for region

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
The Farmington Metropolitan Statistical Area recorded the highest unemployment rate in the state in November at 8.4%
  • New Mexico posted an unemployment rate of 7.5% for November.
  • The state recorded a net loss of 58,300 jobs from November 2019 to November 2020.
  • The national unemployment rate in November was 6.7%.

FARMINGTON — The economic havoc unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a heavy impact on New Mexico and San Juan County, but there is some relatively good news for both entities, an analysis of the data reveals.

The New Mexico Labor Market Review released Jan. 8 by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions indicates that the state's unemployment rate for November 2020 — the most recent month for which data were available — stood at 7.5%, a substantial increase over the rate of 4.8% recorded in November 2019. But it was less than the rate of 8.1% recorded in October 2020.

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The state recorded a net loss of 58,300 jobs from November 2019 to November 2020, according to the review.

Of the nine states in the region for which figures were supplied in the review, New Mexico's unemployment rate of 7.5% was in the middle of the pack. Four states had a higher rate — Nevada (10.1%), California (8.2%), Texas (8.1%) and Arizona (7.8%) — while four others — Colorado (6.4%), Oklahoma (5.9%), Wyoming (5.1%) and Utah (4.3%) — had a lower rate.

Keep reading:Efforts underway to get people back to work as pandemic causes record unemployment

New Mexico's unemployment rate was higher than the national rate of 6.7%. But the rate is declining faster in the state than it is in the nation as a whole, as the U.S. unemployment rate in October was 6.9%.

The review cautions that the November numbers do not take into account any job losses that may have occurred after additional COVID-19 restrictions were imposed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Nov. 19 and remained in place through Dec. 1.

County continues to struggle

The news for San Juan County was a mixed bag, as it was for the rest of the state. San Juan County had an unemployment rate of 8.4% — higher than the state as a whole — but down from the 9.3% rate it recorded in October. The county's rate was considerably higher than the 5.6% rate it showed in November 2019.

It also was one of the higher unemployment rates in the state. Only seven counties recorded a jobless rate higher than that of San Juan County — Luna (14.9%), Lea (10.6), McKinley (9.7%), Taos (9.3%), Cibola (9%), Grant (8.8%) and Sierra (8.5%). Los Alamos County had the lowest rate in the state at 3.2%.

Every county in the state reported an increase in its jobless rate for November over November 2019 except for two — Catron and Harding, both of which reported a decrease of 0.3%.

Of the state's four metropolitan statistical areas, Farmington had the worst unemployment rate at 8.4%. Santa Fe had the lowest rate at 6.7%, followed by Albuquerque at 6.8% and Las Cruces at 7.1%. But the Farmington rate for November was lower than the 9.3% it posted for October.

Read more:Balance grows for Navajo Nation's coronavirus financial assistance program

State officials said a new feature film, "Canyon del Muerto," is being filmed this winter in locations across the state that include Farmington. The production is expected to employ 125 New Mexico crew members, in addition to 25 local actors and approximately 200 background performers. The film, written and directed by Coerte Voorhees, stars Abigail Lawrie, Val Kilmer, Wes Studi and Tom Felton. It chronicles the story of Ann Axtell Morris, one of America's first female archaeologists.

The film started production in Albuquerque on Oct. 26, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Variety has reported it includes a cameo performance by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.