An estimated 1,200 New Mexicans lose unemployment benefits each week, US Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, told radio reporters in a July 12 press conference.
What Bingaman didn’t mention was that for all those losing benefits, an average of 1,800 New Mexicans make their initial unemployment claims, according to weekly reports by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. So far this year, an average of 28,000 New Mexicans—one in three of those actually jobless in the state—receive continuing unemployment benefits.
Before its July 4 recess, Congress failed to pass a federally funded benefits extension, leaving states like New Mexico to pick up the bill. The result is pressure on states to trim unemployment rolls, even if the job market still sucks.
Noting this trend in April, SFR
state tax increases for employers were likely. State Workforce Solutions Secretary Ken Ortiz confirmed as much last month, in an interview with the Associated Press.
Bingaman said Monday that “we’re going to make another run” at a federal benefits extension. But he also said a vote may have to wait until West Virginia’s governor names a replacement for Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, who died June 28.