Friday, September 26, 2008

Jobs: August

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment situation in New Mexico seems to be deteriorating less quickly than in other states. Headlines in Albuquerque this week have found solace in this development. The headlines see the cup half full, I suppose, and avoid notice of how quickly the cup is draining.
In August, the BLS says, the unemployment rate in New Mexico popped up another half a point, going to 4.6% from 4.1% in July. In August 2007, the rate was 3.4%.
Among our neighbors, Utah and Oklahoma are below New Mexico. Arizona, Colorado and Texas are higher. Arizona is one of the four states hit hardest by the housing bust. By my rough count from the state unemployment rate list, 11 states have a lower rate than New Mexico. Three others were tied at 4.6%. A more important number, I think, is that 44 states showed an increased unemployment rate between July and August.
New Mexico has 958,000 people employed during August, a 1.6% increase over the past year. Note that these figures are for "employment," not the much cleaner wage jobs figure. That will have to wait until the Department of Workforce Solutions posts its monthly news release, which was due yesterday.

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