NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexico’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.6% in February, down from 5.9% in January and down from 7.3% a year earlier.
“What we find ourselves in right now is still a recovering economy,” said Reilly White, associate professor of finance at the University of New Mexico.
Dr White said after looking at these unemployment figures it might be shock value for some
“It often comes as a surprise to a lot of people, but it’s very typical, often here in New Mexico,” White said.
New Mexico takes longer to recover from a downturn in the economy than other states, White said that report was good. “We have recovered, we are recovering jobs and they are increasing in the sectors that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic,” White said.
The national unemployment rate in February was 3.8%, down from 4.0% in January and 6.2% in February 2021.
Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 50,100 jobs, or 6.4%, between February 2021 and February 2022. Most of the gains came from the private sector, which increased by 44,500 jobs, or 7.3%. The public sector increased by 5,600 jobs or 3.2%. Most of the private sector gains were in private service industries, which increased by 37,500 jobs, or 7.2%, while goods-producing industries increased by 7,000 jobs, an increase by 7.7%.
Seven major industrial sectors recorded employment increases during the year. Leisure and hospitality saw the strongest employment growth with a gain of 24,000 jobs, or 33.4%, over the previous year.
“It doesn’t make up for what we’ve lost during the pandemic,” said Carol Wight, CEO of the New Mexico Restaurant Association. “So restaurants are still struggling with, uh, fewer employees than before.”
Trade, transport and public services recorded an increase of 6,400 jobs or 4.8%. Within the industry, retail trade increased by 4,800 jobs, or 5.4%; transportation, warehousing and utilities increased by 1,200 jobs or 4.8%; and wholesale trade increased by 400 jobs or 2.1%.
Employment in mining and construction increased by 5,000 jobs or 7.8%. Most of the gains were recorded in the construction industry, which increased by 3,600 jobs, or 7.8%. Employment in the mining sector increased by 1,400 jobs, or 7.9%, over the year. Employment in professional and business services increased by 5,000 jobs or 4.6%.
Employment in education and health services increased by 2,200 jobs, or 1.6%. Within the education and health services industry, educational services increased by 1,800 jobs, or 9.0%, and health care and social assistance, by 400 jobs, or 0. 3%.
Manufacturing employment increased by 2,000 jobs or 7.4%. Within this industry, employment in durable goods manufacturing increased by 1,300 jobs, or 8.8%, over the year. Non-durable goods manufacturing increased by 700 jobs or 5.8%. Employment in other miscellaneous services increased by 600 jobs or 2.3%. Financial activities decreased by 600 jobs or 1.8%. Information lost 100 jobs or 1.0%. Within the public sector, local government employment increased by 4,500 jobs or 4.9%.
Dr. White said that due to the structure of the workforce and the structure of the workforce in New Mexico, the state does not lay off as many workers as most of the rest of the countries because they have a higher number of people working in government-related professions and said but bringing people in has been the problem. “We were firing more slowly, but we were hiring more slowly. And that means our recovery is taking longer than in other parts of the country,” White said.
Within local authorities, local authority education increased by 2,500 jobs, or 5.2%, and local authority education excluding education increased by 2,000 jobs, or 4.6%. State government increased by 1,600 jobs or 2.9%. In state government employment, state government education added 2,100 jobs, representing an increase of 8.9%. State government excluding education lost 500 jobs or 1.6%. The federal government reported a loss of 500 jobs, or 1.7%, from its employment level in February 2021.
the problem is finding people to fill those positions. so many businesses still have a lot of wanted help signs outside of their establishments. Several people have left the workforce, relying on subsidies such as increased food benefits and programs to help pay for utilities, but speaking of the trend, the restaurant association says things are coming back but not at the pace they want.
“Slowly but slowly, you know, it’s really, it’s not coming back as fast as it should with people still unemployed. We should have those people employed,” Wight said.
A more in-depth analysis will be provided in the Labor Market Monitor, which is scheduled for publication on April 1.