Same song, different verse: New Mexico last in country in unemployment for April

Farmington MSA sees jobless rate fall to 5.1%

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — New Mexico once again found itself at the bottom of U.S. employment figures in April, posting a jobless rate of 5.3% — the same figure it registered in March and the fourth month in a row it has led all 50 states in unemployment.

But the news was better in the Farmington metropolitan statistical area, where the jobless rate inched below the statewide rate, according to figures from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.

The nationwide unemployment figure for March was 3.6%, the same as March. New Mexico continued to be one of only two states — Nevada was the other — that posted a jobless rate of 5% or more. Only the District of Columbia ranked lower than New Mexico, as its unemployment rate for April was 5.8%.

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At the other end of the spectrum, two states experienced reported unemployment rates of less than 2%. Utah and Nebraska sat atop the rankings at 1.9%, while Indiana and Minnesota were not far behind at 2.2%. A total of 14 states registered a jobless rate of less than 3%, the same as in March.

While the Farmington MSA did not come close to matching that kind of performance, it did experience the biggest drop in unemployment among the state's four metropolitan statistical areas in April. The jobless rate here tumbled from 5.4% a month earlier to 5.1%, a significant decline from the 8.2% rate from April 2021. Unemployment sat at 5.8% in the Farmington MSA as recently as February.

But New Mexico's three other MSAs continued to post lower jobless rates than Farmington, as they have throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Santa Fe MSA led the way at 3.8%, down from 4% in March, and Albuquerque was second at 4%, a slight decline from 4.1% a month earlier. The Las Cruces MSA was third at 4.8%, unchanged from March.

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San Juan County's jobless rate of 5.1% again was the ninth-highest figure in the state. Luna County led the way at 13.2%, while Sierra County was second at 7.2% and McKinley County was third at 6.1%. Taos (6%), Cibola (5.9%), Guadalupe (5.8%), and Torrance and Lea counties (5.7%) followed.

As usual, Los Alamos County set the pace for New Mexico with the lowest unemployment rate at 2%, followed by Union County at 2.8%. Harding, De Baca and Curry counties were next at 3.3%, while Roosevelt and Hidalgo counties both posted a rate of 3.6%. Santa Fe and Eddy counties came in at 3.8%, and Bernalillo County was next at 3.9%.

That increased the number of counties in the state with a jobless rate of less than 4% to 10 in April. The figure was eight in March. Only two counties in the state could claim that distinction in January.

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.