Unemployment rate down, but 3,000 people left the labor market

FARMINGTON — With the COVID-19 pandemic fast approaching three years ago, San Juan County is still grappling with the fallout from the economic shutdown that accompanied the spread of the virus, according to a vice president of the San Juan College.

Lorenzo Reyes, vice president of workforce development at the college, says the county has made significant progress in combating the effects of the pandemic. But a lot of work remains to be done, he said, especially in terms of rebuilding the size of the civilian workforce.

“No, we haven’t fully recovered and we’re not at pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

On the surface, Reyes acknowledged, things might look a little better than they are. According to the most recent figures from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the Farmington Metropolitan Statistical Area had an unemployment rate of 4.7% in October, considerably lower than the rate of 6.3 % that it displayed in February 2020, shortly before the start of the pandemic.

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