The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released May 2010 state-by-state unemployment figures today, showing New Mexico unemployment last month was 8.4%, down .3% from the 8.7% in April. However, from May 2009 to May 2010 unemployment increased from 6.8% to 8.4%, with a loss of 13,500 jobs. Only Nevada and Mississippi performed worse than New Mexico in the past year, in percentage terms, with unemployment increasing 2.5% and 2.1 percent, respectively.
At 8.4% unemployment New Mexico is just about in the middle of the pack of states, ranking 28th out of 50. It took longer for the recession to catch up to New Mexico than it did in many states. The relative unemployment rate for the next few months will be worth watching, if nothing else because it is an election year, and the state finances, after years of binge spending and then two years of denial of the bad news, are in poor shape and there is talk in many quarters of cuts in jobs in education and other sectors of state government.