Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, greets attendees and employers during the 10th Annual Senator Michael Padilla Job Fair at Harrison Middle School in July. The unemployment rate in October stood at 4.3%. (Chancey Bush/Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico’s unemployment rate went up slightly in October after it had dropped or remained the same each month throughout 2022.

According to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the unemployment rate stood at 4.3% last month — up from 4.2% in September but down from 6.1% at the same time last year.

New Mexico’s unemployment rate is still higher than the national average, which came in at 3.7% in October. As in New Mexico, the national average also climbed from September, when it stood at 3.5%, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment in the state reached a high in July 2020, when the rate stood at 12.5% and when COVID-19 and government restrictions brought some sectors of the economy to a halt.

The current rate of 4.3% is still lower than pre-pandemic levels, and is the lowest it has been in well over a decade. In September, when the rate stood at 4.2%, it was the lowest it had been since July 2008.

New Mexico, as it had been earlier this year, is no longer in last place in unemployment. Alaska, Maryland, Illinois and Nevada all had higher rates of unemployment in October, according to BLS. The District of Columbia has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 4.8%.

Looking at county-by-county unemployment rates, which aren’t seasonally adjusted, shows that Bernalillo County’s rate of unemployment in October stood at 3.6% — down from 4% in September. Doña Ana County’s October unemployment rate last month stood at 4.2%, down from 4.7% in September. And Santa Fe County’s unemployment rate in October was 3.9%, which remained unchanged from the previous month.

Nonfarm employment grew by 3% year over year, according to the NMDWS report.