New Mexico again posts highest unemployment rate of all 50 states

Farmington MSA sees jobless rate decline from 5.8% to 5.4%

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • The state's jobless rate of 5.3% in March was down from the revised rate of 5.6% in February.
  • But the state continues to trail every other state in the country in putting its residents back to work.
  • New Mexico's unemployment rate stood at 7.2% a year ago.

FARMINGTON — Despite seeing its jobless rate fall again in March, New Mexico ranked last among all 50 states in unemployment for the third month in a row, according to figures released by federal and state agencies.

The state's jobless rate of 5.3% in March was down from the revised rate of 5.6% in February, according to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. But the state continues to trail every other state in the country in putting its residents back to work, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nevada and Alaska — both at an even 5% — registered as the only two other states with a rate of 5% or greater. Washington, D.C., posted a jobless rate of 6% for March.

New Mexico's unemployment rate stood at 7.2% a year ago.

More:Despite high unemployment, San Juan County still has thousands of jobs available

The national unemployment rate for March was 3.6%, a decline from the February rate of 3.8%. It was 6% a year ago.

Nebraska and Utah, both at 2%, had the lowest jobless rate in the country in March, followed by Indiana at 2.2% and Montana at 2.3%. A total of 14 states posted a rate of less than 3%.

The Farmington metropolitan statistical area posted a jobless rate of 5.4% for March, a reduction from the February revised rate of 5.8% and a considerable decline from the March 2021 rate of 8.4%.

But the Farmington rate remained the highest of the state's four MSAs, just as it has for quite some time. The Santa Fe area had the lowest rate at 4%, followed by Albuquerque at 4.1% and Las Cruces at 4.8%. All four of the state's MSAs saw a reduction from the February jobless rate.

On a county-by-county basis, San Juan County, with its unemployment rate of 5.4%, again had the ninth-highest rate in New Mexico. Luna County was worst at 13.8%, while Sierra County was next at 7.3%. McKinley County (6.6%), Cibola and Taos counties (6.3%), Lea and Guadalupe counties (6%) and Torrance County (5.9%) followed.

At the other end of the spectrum, Los Alamos County continued to post the lowest jobless rate in the state at 2.1%, while Union County was second at 2.8% Curry County (3.3%) followed, as did De Baca County (3.4%), Roosevelt County (3.6%), Harding and Hidalgo counties (3.7%) and Eddy County (3.9%). In January, only two counties in New Mexico had an unemployment rate of less than 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.