It's official: We're not California

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By Sherry Robinson

The latest unemployment numbers won’t cheer your heart, which will surprise nobody. It’s hard to spin that data and yet a new study takes a slightly different view: New Mexico is better able than many states to dig itself out.

The jobless rate edged up from 7.7 to 7.9 percent for October, still below the nation’s 10.2 percent. We’re squarely in the middle, ranking-wise.

“New Mexico may have reached a statistical low point in August from which a slow recovery can be staged,” wrote a state labor economist. In that sentence, pessimists will focus on “slow.” Optimists will see “recovery.”

Every year, I do a freelance project for a business organization that requires gathering the best data I can find from multiple sources to present an economic picture of the state. This year I can’t deny that it’s discouraging to tote up the job losses, falling tax revenues, familiar stores closed, emptier hotels and car dealers out of business.

But if the glass seems pretty empty, I also found progress and movement. Some companies are still betting on the future by expanding and hiring. Some public projects are moving forward. The vast majority of us are keeping up with our mortgages.

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