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Unemployment Rate

Summary Indicator Report Data View Options

The U.S. unemployment rate was higher than the New Mexico rate during the height of the recent recession (2007-2010). But beginning in 2010, the U.S. rate saw dramatic improvement and now (2017), at 4.4%, is lower than the 2017 New Mexico rate of 6.1%.

Percentage Unemployed by County, New Mexico, 2015-2019

Why Is This Important?

Household income is strongly related to health status for all persons in the household. Those living at or near the poverty level tend to have poorer health status, in part because they cannot always afford health care. Health status also depends on meeting a family's needs for adequate housing and nutrition. Lack of income may also keep children from having access to quality education, safe areas to play, and expose them to other risk factors. In addition, common reasons for unemployment include chronic mental or physical illness that limits a person's ability to work outside the home.


The average annual percentage of the civilian labor force that was not employed and seeking employment (averaged across months). See Data Interpretation Issues for more information about the definition of employed versus unemployed persons.

Data Source

U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

How the Measure is Calculated

Numerator:The number of unemployed persons in the civilian labor force.
Denominator:The total of persons in the civilian labor force, the sum of employed and unemployed persons.

How Are We Doing?

Over the last decade, the New Mexico unemployment rate peaked at 8.1% in 2010 and has been improving annually since then. The 2017 rate of 6.1% is near what is considered the "full employment" level (4% to 6.4%). The lowest unemployment rate New Mexico has experienced in the last decade was 3.5% in 2007, just before the recession. Unemployment is most severe in Luna County which had a rate of 14.1% in 2017.

More Resources

See the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions for additional data about labor and the workforce. Website: See also the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Website:

Health Program Information

According to the United States Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) an estimated unemployment rate" of 4 to 6.4% is considered "full-employment." That is, the rate is not expected to fall below approximately 5% because of natural movement between jobs. When a population reaches full employment, wages are expected to rise.

Indicator Data Last Updated On 04/15/2021, Published on 04/29/2021
Community Health Assessment Program, Epidemiology and Response Division, New Mexico Department of Health, 1190 S. Saint Francis Drive, P.O. Box 26110, Santa Fe, NM, 87502. Contact Rena Manning at