On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics published the August unemployment numbers. While the country’s rate has fallen significantly from 10.2% in July to 8.4% in August, New Mexico continues to remain stagnant at 11.3%, which is 25% higher than the national rate, and the sixth-highest in the nation.
While other states’ economies are opening back up, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham still is keeping a tight lockdown, with extremely gradual reopenings, such as at Thursday’s presser where she announced “limited” youth sports to start, ice hockey rinks to open, and pumpkin patches to resume.
However, the Governor’s lockdown has forced thousands of businesses to close and New Mexico working families to suffer while she has spent away the Federal stimulus funds granted to the state for COVID-19 relief. Last week, she asked Congress for yet another bailout, which was met with fury from local business owners due to her irresponsible budgeting.
Larry Behrens from Power the future said of the 11.3% New Mexico unemployment rate, “It’s no coincidence that at the same time New Mexico’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the country our energy workers are struggling. Radical environmentalists and their allies in Santa Fe may celebrate when an energy worker loses their job, but behind our abysmal unemployment rate are real families who are hurting.”
On Wednesday, Lujan Grisham attempted to brush off her state’s failed economy under her leadership by blaming what she called the “Trump recession” hurting Hispanic and Latino communities in a tweet. She claimed Trump’s “failed pandemic response” led to suffering in these communities, despite the President taking early action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic while Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden (who Lujan Grisham endorsed) blasted Trump as “xenophobic” for restricting travel from China, where the virus originated.
Now, while the country is getting back on track to economic progress, Lujan Grisham’s New Mexico lacks behind as the 45th in unemployment, despite her claiming “We’re doing about the same economically as Arizona” in her Thursday press conference. Arizona, led by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, has a much lower unemployment rate than New Mexico. All of New Mexico’s neighboring states have lower unemployment rates, with Arizona at 5.9%, Colorado at 6.7%, Texas at 6.8%, and Utah at 4.1%.
Later on Friday, Lujan Grisham sent out an email to supporters bashing President Trump’s leadership during COVID-19, writing “President Trump has single-handedly botched the coronavirus response, refused to take action while knowing how deadly and dangerous COVID-19 would be – and proclaimed he ‘take[s] no responsibility’ and that ‘nothing more could have been done.’”