NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A new report shows New Mexico is 49th in the nation for unemployment recovery, meaning the state is doing a really bad job of getting people back to work. According to a WalletHub study, the dark blue states have done the best recovering from the pandemic, the white has done the worse.

Source: WalletHub

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Number one is Virginia, Arkansas, North Dakota and Delaware. The worst are Washington, D.C., New Mexico, Tennessee and Michigan. The ranking looks at both overall unemployment recovery and recovery in the last week. New Mexico ranks at the bottom for both.

According to the state, the unemployment rate for September was 6.9% down from 7.2% in August. While New Mexico did end the extra federal unemployment benefits in September, the extended SNAP benefits continue which give a single person $250 a month in food aid or a family of five about $1,000 a month.

Businesses say they’re still struggling to find workers. Paul Gessing with the Rio Grande Foundation, a watchdog group, believes New Mexico’s increased unemployment and SNAP benefits have played a major role.

“There’s numerous other factors people in the workforce nowadays are looking for other opportunities think can get higher pay and benefits and those are part of equation as well but certainly offering people cash benefits to stay out of the workforce is going to result in some a number choosing to stay out of the workforce,” Gessing said.

KRQE News 13 reached out to the governor’s office to ask what the administration is doing to get people back to work.

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions secretary says they are working across agencies to help New Mexicans overcome barriers that are preventing them from returning to the workforce which include in some cases, child care, public health concerns and getting them the educations or job training they need. The department is also assisting employers with direct hiring assistance and is working on a pilot program that will help businesses with wage reimbursement to help in ramping up their hiring.