Department of Workforce Solutions explains unemployment tracking

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The number of people filing for first-time unemployment is dropping, but the Department of Workforce Solutions said it could be weeks before it knows just how many people are going back to work.

“We’re at the point now where we’re at roughly 1,000 people applying every day, and there are some people that are going back to work. But for a myriad of complicated reasons, it’s hard for us to track that number as is,” said Secretary for the Department of Workforce Solutions Bill McCamley. Thursday, McCamley says the state is currently paying benefits to 130,000 New Mexicans compared to about 10,000 before the pandemic.

More than 5,800 people filed for first-time unemployment this week, according to the unemployment insurance weekly claims report. That’s down 3,600 from last week. The number of people actually getting benefits this week is thousands less than the number filing first-time claims, but McCamley said that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how many people are going back to work. He says there is not a good way to track the reasons for people getting off of unemployment.

McCamley said the number of people who went back to work as more businesses opened this week isn’t reflected in this week’s totals because the workers won’t report to the system until Sunday. They are also not taken off the unemployment rolls for three weeks.

KRQE News 13 asked if there’s a way for Workforce Solutions to track how many people have been offered their jobs back but refused because they make more off unemployment. McCamley said employers can report those instances on an online form on their website.

On Monday, the NMDWFS is hosting a virtual town hall with employers to answer questions about the rules for going back to work.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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