Unemployment falls locally, statewide

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LA County has 2.5 percent of workforce without a job

By The Staff

The unemployment rate in New Mexico took a big tumble in May, although job growth wasn’t a factor in the fall.
The state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in May, according to the state’s Department of Workforce Solutions. That number was significantly down from 7.6 percent in April and 8.3 percent in May 2010.
However, job growth hasn’t been part of the drop in unemployment. Between May 2010 and May 2011, nonfarm payroll employment has dropped by 6,300 jobs, or 0.8 percent, the worst clip in the nation.
Despite the losses, statewide employment was still considerably stronger than the nation as a whole. The U.S. currently has a 9.1 percent unemployment rate.
New Mexico ranks 14th in the country for lowest percentage of its workforce unemployed. North Dakota (3.2 percent) had the lowest rate in the nation, while Nevada (12.1 percent) was the highest.
Locally, Los Alamos County has the lowest percentage of its work force unemployed. As of May, 2.5 percent of county residents – 249 people – were unemployed, a slight drop from April.
Only four other counties in New Mexico, Curry, De Baca, Eddy and Union counties, had unemployed rates under 4 percent, although De Baca and Union counties are home to a total of less than 2,700 workers combined.
Luna County is, by far, the toughest place to find work in the state. Luna County has the highest unemployment rate, at 18.8 percent, while Mora County has a 13.6 percent unemployment rate. Taos County (9.5 percent) had the third-highest rate.
Professional and business services has a -7.1 percent growth rate in the state, slightly behind information (-6.8 percent) for hardest-hit industry. Mining and logging had a 7.1 percent growth rate, most among nonagricultural industries.