Note: This story originally appeared in the Albuquerque Journal.
New Mexico continues its ascent out of the economic doldrums, with job numbers in October showing the biggest percentage gain in a dozen years.
The state’s employment rate registered 2.8 percent in October compared to the year before, according to the state Department of Workforce Solutions. The last time the state has seen any kind of growth over 2.6 percent was in September 2006, when the increase measured 2.9 percent, the agency said.
The October increase translated into 23,100 more jobs compared to a year ago, with the leisure and hospitality industry showing the biggest rise at 7.7 percent.
The mining industry, which includes oil and gas, saw a gain of 2.3 percent.
The state’s unemployment rate remained at 4.6 percent for the third month in a row. That compares to 6 percent a year ago. New Mexico tied Ohio for the fifth-worst rate among states, just ahead of Arizona and Mississippi, which both had 4.7 percent. Alaska remains the highest at 6.4 percent.
The national unemployment rate in October was 3.7 percent.
The county with the highest rate in New Mexico was Luna in the southwest at 8.1 percent. Los Alamos, Union and Eddy counties all had the lowest rate in New Mexico: 3.2 percent.