Labor Day during the pandemic: thousands of New Mexicans still unemployed | KOB 4

Labor Day during the pandemic: thousands of New Mexicans still unemployed

Nathan O'Neal
Updated: September 08, 2020 01:04 PM
Created: September 07, 2020 03:33 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Labor Day is supposed to be about celebrating the workforce, but this year the pandemic has put a huge damper on the holiday with thousands of people still out of work.

New Mexico resident Philip Alarcon said he’s especially grateful his sales job has been spared by the pandemic.


“We've been fortunate,” he said. “Our group of friends, our family, we're all government workers, we're all city workers. We're in jobs that haven't been impacted, but I know it's tough for a lot of folks,” he said.

According to the state’s unemployment numbers from late July, 121,000 New Mexicans are unemployed.

Many of those out of work came from the restaurant industry. State officials estimate at least 23,000 restaurant employees were out of a job just before limited indoor dining was permitted again.

Still, the New Mexico Restaurant Association said recovery has been slow.

“Come to restaurants. We need your help, we need your business and we will do a good job for you,” said Carol Wight, CEO of the New Mexico Restaurant Association.

For Alarcon, he remains hopeful that infection rates will continue to fall and more people will get back to work.

You just hope that things eventually can get back to normal because we can't keep this up for too much longer,” he said.

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