Unemployment

Megan Kamerick

Revised state guidelines on virus restrictions that took effect on April 30 mean restaurants in Bernalillo County can now have indoor dining at 50 percent capacity. These restrictions have fluctuated over the past year and that’s been challenging for restaurants as they laid off staff, reduced hours and adapted to more takeout service.

Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

About 100,000 New Mexicans are receiving unemployment benefits right now. Many of those people lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and some of those jobs may not come back. But there are employment areas that are growing. New Mexico’s Department of Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley told KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona about these growing areas, and said now is the time to plan for what work will look like in the future.

Bytemarks via Flickr / Creative Commons


About 100,000 New Mexicans are on the state’s rolls for unemployment insurance right now. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them qualify for longer-than-usual periods of benefits that expired last year, but have now been reinstated and extended to March 13.

Eva Avenue


We get into what money really is. We take a dive into a bill that looks to create a public bank. We talk with a member of a financial innovation group about how universal basic income has helped businesses during the pandemic. We grapple with student loans. We hear the journey of how difficult it is to start a business as a pandemic is raging. And we have a talk with the secretary of workforce solutions about where the jobs are going to be.


Rebecca Travers lives in Casper, Wyo. Until late last year, the 42-year-old had been working at a non-profit that helps volunteer organizations across the state.

The Food Bank for Larimer County’s warehouse in Loveland looks like a factory assembly line. People are busy preparing and packing provisions for when the doors open in an hour.

"Cookies, protein bars, coffee – a little of everything," says volunteer Ruben Marez. "I kind of like to mix and match."

Every year Marez travels to volunteer with the Red Cross and help with disaster relief. This year, he decided he was needed close to home and began volunteering at the onset of the pandemic.

Robbie Sugg

 


Summer is winding down and harvest season is quickly approaching. The change of the season is always very beautiful, but before the excitement of the leaves changing colors begins, we have to understand the dangers that many people are facing. With food security concerns around the state and a potential eviction crisis on the horizon it is important to ensure that everyone has the basics for survival. In Episode 7, we look at the essentials of survival—shelter, health care and food—and attempt to see not only what the problems are, but how they can be fixed.

 

Nash Jones / KUNM

Restaurants in New Mexico are back where they were for a few days in late May, with limited outdoor seating, but no indoor dining allowed. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham renewed the public health order Monday, citing climbing coronavirus cases. The New Mexico Restaurant Association is pushing back, rallying restaurants statewide to speak out against the order. KUNM’s Nash Jones reports local restaurants with and without outdoor seating vary in their support for the order and are thinking creatively about how to sustain another partial shutdown. 

As employers continue to lay off workers at unprecedented levels, every state in the Mountain West has some kind of rent assistance program in place. Low-income housing advocates hope those programs, and their funding, can keep up with the ongoing need.

Robert Smith via Flickr

University Showcase 5/15 8a: The coronavirus pandemic has not only created a public health crisis, but also an economic one. New Mexico has been particularly hard hit because of the plunge in global oil prices and the complete shutdown in travel and tourism. Small businesses, who make up much of the state’s economy, are also being hit hard. We’ll explore what to expect in coming months.

At the end of April, the national unemployment rate hit 14.7% – the highest rate since the Great Depression. On CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett predicted the rate will exceed 20% when the Department of Labor issues May's numbers.

Courtesy of Chad Cooper

Episode 50 is all about athletes and sports, and the pandemic's impacts on the players, the communities, the economy—and our spirits. What are games like when the stands are empty? How do student athletes support each other as they navigate missed opportunities for big seasons, and maybe scholarships? How do physical activity and teamwork help keep folks connected and on the right track? And what do you do when some of that's gone for a minute? 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Episode 48 dives back into how the pandemic is affecting people experiencing homelessness. KUNM's Hannah Colton goes further into the story of the city breaking up encampments, despite the CDC advising against it during this time, and she brings us the perspective of Cypher Johnson, who's passing through Albuquerque and spending time on the streets. We talk to people who work with unsheltered folks around the state about what an outbreak at a shelter would mean for the whole community, about what needs to change right now—and what needs to change in the future. We also hear from the Albuquerque Police Department and the Las Cruces Police Department about how coronavirus has changed things for them philosophically and practically. 

Tim Mossholder / pexels.com

The U.S. Senate passed a relief package Wednesday that includes a boost for unemployment. If the House also approves the measure and President Trump signs it, self-employed folks, gig workers or contractors, and furloughed workers qualify. The package also increases how much money people will get. KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona spoke with Department of Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley about how the state was handling the spike in demand. 

Amy G via Flickr CC

In episode 27, we hear from tipped service-industry workers about what they're facing as restaurants and bars around the state close their doors—unless you're ordering to-go. And host Khalil Ekulona calls his old boss, Ken Carson, who owns Nexus Brewery & Restaurant to talk about shuttering one location because of the impact of the COVID health measures. 

Jake Schoellkopf / NMDOT

The state is looking to hire hundreds of new employees over the next two weeks. Agencies will accept walk-in applicants at “rapid hire” events in Carlsbad, Roswell, Farmington, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces. 

Sounder Bruce via Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons


Let's Talk New Mexico 11/16 8a: New Mexico is one of dozens of states and communities vying for Amazon’s second headquarters. Many places are promising hefty incentives to land the deal, just as we did unsuccessfully several years ago for a Tesla facility. Should New Mexico offer incentives to lure big companies that could jumpstart our economy? Email letstalk@kunm.org, use the hashtag #letstalkNM on Twitter or call in live during the show.

Ed Williams

Finding employment can be a challenge for anyone entering the job market. For people with disabilities, those challenges can be even greater—the unemployment rate for that group is twice that of the overall population.

Young People Struggle To Find Jobs

Oct 7, 2014
Spamoni via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The national unemployment rate has dropped to 5.9 percent, but that doesn’t mean that there are more teens and young adults in the New Mexico workforce. In fact, that number has been dropping for decades, according to a recent report.

Photo by Khalilshah via www.flickr.com

A Las Vegas man has pleaded guilty in federal court to filing hundreds of fraudulent unemployment claims worth millions.  From the Fronteras Changing America Desk, Jude Joffe-Block reports the scheme cheated the government of 4-point-4 million dollars.