Joblessness continues upward trend in New Mexico metro areas in February

FARMINGTON — While the unemployment rate has remained largely flat across New Mexico for the last three months, it has increased significantly in the state’s population centers, a trend that continued with the February figures that were released March 24.

According to data released by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the state’s jobless rate has increased slightly, going from 3.5% in December and January to 3.6% in February. But the unemployment rate is headed up in the Farmington, Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces metropolitan statistical areas, as all four of those markets have experienced increases for two months in a row.

The good news for Farmington, which long has held the dubious distinction of having the worst jobless rate among the state’s four MSAs, is that it now ranks only third at 4.6% — an increase over January’s 4.5% and December’s 3.4%. Las Cruces is now at the bottom of the list, having post a 4.7% rate for February. That market was at 4.5% in January and 3.3% in December.

Santa Fe continues to have the lowest unemployment rate of the state’s four MSAs at 3.4%, up from 3.3% in January and 2.6% in December, while Albuquerque is second at 3.6%, compared to 3.5% in January and 2.7% in December.

The slight hike in Farmington’s jobless rate came despite an increase in the number of people in the market who were employed. That number for February was 47,972 — a jump of nearly 700 people from January. The size of Farmington’s labor force exceeded 50,000 in February, nearly 1,000 people more than in February 2022.

Across New Mexico, the size of the labor force increased by more than 3,000 people in February from January. And the number of employed people grew by more than 2,000 folks.

Among New Mexico counties, unemployment continues to plague Luna County, where joblessness went from 12.1% in January to 13.4% in February, highest in the state. Sierra County has the second-highest rate at 7.3%, followed by Catron (6%), Cibola (5.5%) and Torrance (5.4%) counties. San Juan County is tied for 10th place on that list at 4.6% with Taos County.

Los Alamos is the only county in the state with a jobless rate of less than 2%, as it registered a figure of 1.9% for February. Eddy County was next at 2.7%, followed by Curry County at 2.9%, and Union and Hidalgo counties at 3%.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or

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This article originally appeared on Farmington Daily Times: Farmington MSA no longer has highest unemployment rate in New Mexico