LC Bulletin: Local job growth anemic

August 9, 2013. Retrieved online August 12, 2013 from Alta LeCompte, Las Cruces Bulletin

Strength of recovery questioned

The hopes of Las Crucens for brighter economic times just around the corner dimmed somewhat with the release Friday, Aug. 2, of June unemployment numbers.

Some 7,132 residents of the Las Cruces metropolitan area were without jobs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Las Cruces area unemployment rate rose to 8.5 percent. The jobless rate for New Mexico was 6.8 percent. This data is preliminary and is not seasonally adjusted.

“Overall, however, employment increased by 200 jobs from June 2012. The small increase in the unemployment rate confirms that Las Cruces has not yet entered a strong recov­ery,” New Mexico State University economics professor Jim Peach said.

“A major reason is that nearly a third of Las Cruces’ non­farm payroll employment is in the public sector, a sector that is not expanding.”

Government shed 2 percent of its work force in the metro­politan area between June 2012 and June 2013.

Total government payroll contracted by 400 jobs, marking 29 consecutive months of decline. The majority of the loss came from the federal government, which was down by 300 jobs, 7.7 percent. State government jobs fell by 100 or 1.5 percent, while local government had no change in its employment, according to the state’s Department of Workforce Solutions.

“There was probably little effect from the sequester from May to June. That will show up later in the year,” Peach said, adding that current data are preliminary and that month to month changes should not be relied on to establish trends.

Sectors where the job picture improved included education and health care, leisure and hospitality and professional and business services.

…Looking ahead, Peach commented, “The sequestration will not help the Las Cruces economy but the larger issue is what Congress ultimately does with the FY2014 budget.”

Read the Las Cruces Bulletin article

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