The New Mexico Department of Labor, er..."Workforce Solutions"—sorry—released


Here's the happy-face lead: If state-to-state job availability was graded on a curve, New Mexico would get an A!

"New Mexico's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was

5.1 percent

in January 2009, up from revised estimates of 4.7 percent in December and 3.7 percent a year ago.

The national unemployment rate was 7.6 percent

," the release says. "Even with negative job growth, New Mexico outperformed many other states."

Of course, for those already thrown out of work, that's a big



"Health care and government appear to offer the best employment prospects for the state as we navigate difficult economic times," the release says.

Further, "Most of the government jobs are at the local level, many at tribally owned casinos."

Which suggests that the most you can do to help the economy right now is to get terminally ill and piss your money away at the slots. Otherwise, here are your options:

Option 1: Apply to medical school.

Option 2: Learn to count cards.

Better yet, do both.

And if you already live in Santa Fe:

Don't move

. The unemployment rate here is almost a full percentage point lower than in Albuquerque.

The full skinny on Santa Fe comes after the cut.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Santa Fe was 4.6 percent in January 2009, up from a revised 4.3 percent in December. A year ago, the local area had an unemployment rate of 2.8 percent.

As is typical for Santa Fe, January was a very weak month for employment. January 2009 workforce reductions resulted in 2,000 fewer jobs than were recorded in December. Government lost the most jobs, with the state and local divisions declining by 200 and 300, respectively. Retail trade lost 300 jobs at the end of the Christmas shopping season, while educational & health services employment also fell by 300. Five other industries—construction, information, professional & business services, leisure & hospitality, and miscellaneous other services—also contributed to the monthly decline.

The rate of over-the-year job growth for Santa Fe was 0.8 percent, representing a gain of 500 jobs. The Santa Fe job market has been weak for the last year. Job growth has alternated between positive and negative territory, mostly staying close to the zero line. Some months have been better than others, but employment prospects in the local area have been better.

Educational & health services added 400 jobs, which was more than for any other private industry. The government sector also reported 400 more jobs, all of which were added at the local level as employment at both the federal and state levels remained unchanged. Professional & business services managed to add 200 jobs, as did the leisure & hospitality industry.

The biggest losses occurred in information, which experienced a slowing in the state's film industry compared to this time last year. The construction industry is also feeling the pains of the reduced demand seen in most parts of the state, down 200 jobs in the local area.

Six other industries reported job counts that were unchanged from year-ago levels. Those industries were manufacturing; wholesale trade; retail trade; transportation, warehousing & utilities; financial activities; and miscellaneous other services.