The collapse in public sector employment has New Mexico again leading the country in job losses.
Federal statistics for June show a loss of 5,200 jobs in the government sector compared with a year ago, which includes federal, state and local government jobs. Compared with May 2012, the loss in government jobs is even higher -- 6,800 positions.
New Mexico led the United States in the percentage of month-over-month job losses for June 2012 (-0.5 percent), along with two other states, Vermont and Wisconsin, according to numbers released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The June numbers show there are 1,700 fewer New Mexicans on nonfarm payrolls in June 2012 than a year ago (not seasonally adjusted) and 4,000 fewer than May 2012, according to the state Department of Workforce Solutions. The biggest drop is in state education jobs, which declined 3,200 positions from May to June 2012
New Mexico has seen three straight months of having the worst job growth in the West, said Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico in a news release. Since April, New Mexico has lost 7,400 jobs.
According to the Department of Workforce Solutions, employment in June increased in seven industries compared with a year ago, with health care again being the most robust, adding 4,300 jobs. Leisure and hospitality added another 2,100; mining, 1,600; and manufacturing, 1,100. The hospitality numbers have bounced back from last summer, when many tourists were deterred from visiting the state because of wildfires.
But declines in the government sector offset all the gains as 5,200 jobs were lost in federal, state and local government and another 4,100 in professional and business services, according to the Department of Workforce Solutions.
Because the labor market in New Mexico continues to shrink, more of those out of work either leave the state, take early retirement or stop looking for a job. As a result, New Mexico's unemployment rate has again declined -- dropping to 6.5 percent in June 2012, down from 7.5 percent a year ago and 6.7 percent last month.
"While New Mexico's unemployment rate dropped slightly since last month, the civilian labor force also shrank by 4,000 people, an indicator that many New Mexicans have simply given up on finding work," said Davis.
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