What is the outlook on unemployment in New Mexico?

What is the outlook on unemployment in New Mexico?

Officials say more jobs are available, even as layoffs have hit the state. Here's a breakdown of that.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The pandemic impacted many things in New Mexico and unemployment continues to be one of them – but there is hope in the new year.

Reps with our state’s Department of Workforce Solutions tell us there are a lot of job openings to fill. That includes thousands of jobs added this year for various industries.

Currently, they say there are more jobs than people looking for work. Officials say things may change in the new year.

“Construction jobs are up considerably, so it grew by about 10,600 jobs over last year. Also, we are seeing an increase in manufacturing jobs, private education, and in the healthcare sector. Also, good news, we are seeing an increase in state government jobs which had never recovered from the pandemic,” said Sarita Nair, a secretary of the Department of Workforce Solutions.

Aside from more jobs, 2023 has also seen more people filling those positions. Especially for big companies that have made their way to our state or expanded its workforce. 

“We kept seeing some huge hiring events out of Intel. So Intel, because of the CHIPS Act, they ramped up hiring,” said Nair.

While that is the positive, there’s been some layoffs this year as well.

“We did see some larger layoffs in connection with the Spaceport, we saw some other layoffs associated with some other businesses closing around our state,” Nair said.

Virgin Galactic’s decision to reduce its spaceflights next year will leave more than 70 employees without a job in New Mexico. 

Officials also say restaurants have added to our unemployment, with many closing or reducing hours because of employer shortage. 

In November, the unemployment rate actually ticked up in New Mexico. But that combined with more jobs added is considered a good sign for 2024

“When we see the unemployment rate tick up combined with the fact that we are adding jobs, so we added 18,800 since this time last year, that means that what’s most likely happening is that more people are coming off the bench and looking for a job,” said Nair.

In November of this year, New Mexico’s unemployment rate was 3.9%. That is slightly above the national average of 3.7% for that same month.