News Column

Job Losses Continue Throughout New Mexico

Nov. 21, 2012

Bruce Krasnow

Data released Tuesday indicate the state economy is still bogged in recession, as New Mexico lost another 5,900 jobs last month, according to estimates by the state Department of Workforce Solutions.

Figures show the rate of over-the-year job growth, comparing October 2012 with October 2011, was -0.7 percent, representing a loss of 5,900 jobs. The current round of job losses started in June after 10 months of gains. Six industries are adding employment, and seven industries are losing jobs, according to Workforce Solutions.

But the declines continue to wipe out all the gains. Among 25 sectors throughout the state, New Mexico lost 3,400 jobs in the professional and business services industry, a category that includes Los Alamos National Laboratory. Another 1,300 jobs were lost in construction. The largest decline continues to be government, which registered a net loss of 4,500 jobs since last year. Of those, state government reported employment levels that were 3,800 lower than last year, while the federal government reported a decline of 1,400 jobs. Local governments actually gained 700 jobs in October.

With 191,000 government employees in the state, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the sector in New Mexico now stands at the same level it did in 2002, while the number of construction jobs is on par with 1994.

The smaller economy also meant fewer people were actively looking for work -- and that pushed New Mexico's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 6.3 percent in October, down from 6.4 percent in September and also down from 7.2 percent a year ago.

Large gains were reported by the leisure and hospitality industry and the educational and health services industry, each adding 2,500 jobs since this time last year.

In Santa Fe County, the workforce increased by 1,000 jobs in October, with most of the growth coming from the leisure and hospitality sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2012 The Santa Fe New Mexican

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