DefinitionThe 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.
NumeratorThe number of unemployed persons in the civilian labor force.
DenominatorThe total of persons in the civilian labor force, the sum of employed and unemployed persons.
Data Interpretation IssuesUnemployment rates are based on a monthly sample survey of households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. People are classified as employed if they did any work at all as paid employees during the reference week; worked in their own business, profession, or on their own farm; or worked without pay at least 15 hours in a family business or farm. People are also counted as employed if they were temporarily absent from their jobs because of illness, bad weather, vacation, labor-management disputes, or personal reasons. People are classified as unemployed if they meet all of the following criteria: They had no employment during the reference week; they were available for work at that time; and they made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. Persons laid off from a job and expecting recall need not be looking for work to be counted as unemployed. The unemployment data derived from the household survey in no way depend upon the eligibility for or receipt of unemployment insurance benefits.
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.
Other ObjectivesNew Mexico Community Health Status Indicator (CHSI)
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.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?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, at 4.4%, is lower than the 2017 New Mexico rate of 6.1%.
Health Program InformationAccording 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.