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City unemployment continues decline, GRT increases


Unemployment in the City of Las Cruces was 3.1 percent in December 2022, down 1.5 percent from December 2021 and 1.8 percent lower than December 2019, City of Las Cruces economist Monica Torres, Ph.D., told the city council at its March 13 work session.

Torres said city employment totaled 46,735 last December, a growth of 475 workers from December 2021. 1,476 people were actively looking for a job in December 2022, 741 fewer than in December 2021 and about 900 fewer than in December 2019, she said.

The city’s total labor force in December 2022 was 48,211, Torres said, down 266 workers.

Total nonfarm employment in the Las Cruces MSA was up 2.4 percent, about 1,800 workers, to 77,200 in December 2022 compared to December 2021, Torres said.

“2022 was also characterized by high inflation,” Torres said, which reached a 40-year high in June 2022.

The consumer price index was up 6.3 percent in January 2023 as compared to January 2022.

The city’s gross receipts tax (GRT) revenue was almost $11.8 million in December 2022, an increase of almost five percent from the year before. GRT increased 9.7 percent in 2022 over 2021, Torres said.

Cannabis sales averaged about $3 million a month since recreational cannabis sales became legal last April, Torres said. She said 37 cannabis retailers generated $616,533 in excise tax, April-December 2022. Torres said recreational cannabis accounted for 57 percent sales.