NM Jobless Rate At 22-Year High

New Mexico – New Mexico's unemployment rate was 8.5 percent in January, up from December's 8.2 percent rate and the 5.9 percent rate of January 2009.

The state's unemployment rate is at a 22-year high.

State labor officials say New Mexico's economy has been on a downward trajectory since job growth peaked at 3.5 percent in June 2006. Job growth bottomed out last fall at negative 4.9 percent and now stands at negative 3.3 percent.

New Mexico has lost 26,700 jobs since January 2009. Officials say the decline in the number of jobs is the worst the state has seen in modern times.

The state Department of Workforce Solutions says unlike previous national recessions, this downturn has impacted New Mexico nearly as much as it has the nation as a whole.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.