New Mexico has always struggled with low workforce participation levels. It was hardly a surprise when a national study earlier this year called New Mexico the “least hardworking state” in the entire nation. The COVID 19 pandemic AND the federal/state governments’ fear mongering, mask and vaccine mandates and massive social spending programs have done nothing to lure people back into the workforce.
Alas, as the chart below shows (using data from Bureau of Labor Statistics) New Mexico’s workforce participation rate has remained depressed even relative to other state. In January of 2020 the rate for NM was 55.5%. As of October 2021 that rate was 53.3% , a decrease of 4%.
Not only did New Mexico START with lower workforce participation than its neighbors, but it has seen a the steepest decline of any of its neighboring states. No state has gotten back to January 2020 workforce participation rates, but Oklahoma and Utah have gotten close.