New Mexico sees major jump in unemployment claims amid virus

New Mexico

In this Jan. 24, 2020, photo, Steven Maes stands at his Rust Is Gold Garage and Coffee shop in Albuquerque, N.M., next to his vintage BMW motorcycle. Maes recently was laid off from a movie production in Albuquerque and was forced to layoff four of his employees thanks to the downturn caused by the novel coronavirus. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — More than 17,000 New Mexico residents applied for unemployment benefits amid the widespread economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus.

The numbers released Thursday show the jump in New Mexico is more than 19 times the number of claims the previous week.

The U.S. Department of Labor says New Mexico saw 17,187 people apply for unemployment benefits last week compared to 869 the week before.

State Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley says the state has never seen a spike like this before.

The latest numbers come as oil and gas prices continue to fall — hurting one of New Mexico’s most robust industries. 

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