Unemployment for Hispanic New Mexicans is significantly higher than it is for non-Hispanic white New Mexicans, a new Economic Policy Institute Issue Brief finds. In Ongoing Joblessness in New Mexico: Unemployment rate for Hispanics far exceeds the state’s white rate, EPI Policy Analyst Mary Gable finds that the Hispanic unemployment rate in New Mexico was 8.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, more than one-and-a-half times that of the non-Hispanic white unemployment rate of 4.7 percent. Among the 23 states with large enough Hispanic populations to track unemployment, New Mexico has the ninth-lowest Hispanic unemployment rate. Meanwhile, New Mexico’s white unemployment rate of 4.7 percent was 1.6 percentage points lower than the national white unemployment rate of 6.3 percent and placed it among the states with relatively low white unemployment rates.
However, though New Mexico has relatively low unemployment rates among workers of all races, New Mexico’s job growth over the last three years has been too sluggish to make up for the jobs lost during the recession. New Mexico’s job growth of 3,500 jobs from January 2012 to January 2013 placed it fourth from the bottom among all states. To return to prerecession unemployment rates, New Mexico would have to create 2,500 new jobs each month over the next three years. In addition, New Mexico’s labor force participation rate (59.7 percent in 2012) and employment-to-population ratio (55.4 percent in 2012) have consistently lagged national rates (of 63.7 percent and 58.6 percent, respectively, in 2012), signaling a deeper malaise in the economy not necessarily reflected in the official measures of unemployment.