Slow job growth in Quay County follows state’s lead

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

The estimated unemployment rate in Quay County rose slightly in May to 4.2 percent from the previous month and the same time a year ago, according to a report released this week by the state’s Department of Workforce Solutions.

The unemployment rate in April 2008 was 4 percent and in May 2007, it was 3.9 percent.

Quay County was ranked eighth in unemployment in May 2008 compared to seventh in May 2007, the report said.

Trends in Quay County look like they are “following in the footsteps of the statewide trends,” said Mark Boyd, economist with the state’s Economic Research & Analysis Bureau.

The labor force from May to April of this year remained nearly unchanged at 3,973, but was down from the same time last year when it was 4,030.

And the number of unemployed was 166 compared to 157 in May of 2007, the report showed.

The statewide, not seasonally adjusted, unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in May.

Quay County’s and the state’s unemployment rates are below the national rate, which is about 5.5 percent.

Overall, construction jobs in the state have declined. “The boom has now ended and some job losses have occurred,” the report stated.

In Tucumcari, construction employment was buoyed during the two-year renovation of First Street which covered 2.7 miles, cost about $13.3 million, and was completed in August 2007.

Employment growth in the leisure and hospitality industry slowed to 600 jobs statewide, which could be attributed to higher gas prices. the report said.

“Only time will tell the extent to which areas of New Mexico that depend on summer tourism will be affected by increased travel costs, but early indicators show travelers exercising increased spending restraint,” the report said.