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Signs of life in an economic wasteland

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By Sherry Robinson

Last year at this time, we were staring into an economic sinkhole, wondering if it had a bottom. In New Mexico, we’re usually spared the worst of downturns or there’s a delay in its impact, and this time we’ve seen both. Now, as we feel the monster’s tail lash our industries and our job market, it’s a good time to take stock.

When I say, “First, the bad news,” you can assume there’s some good news.

Really.

The state’s unemployment rate in August, the most recent available, was 7.5 percent, with 30,900 lost jobs over the year. That embraces everything from the 12.8 percent rate of Luna County to the 3.5 percent in Los Alamos County, along with the 8-plus percent of San Juan and Lea counties that reflect the slump in oil and gas. And the 9 and 6 percent rates in Taos and Santa Fe that say it wasn’t a great year for tourism, although Lincoln County’s 5.5 percent looks rosy by comparison.

For all that, we’re still better off than half the other states, with a national ranking of 25th in job “growth.” Talk about your glass half full. Nationally, unemployment was 9.7 percent.

The good news?


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