(Albuquerque, NM) – From July 30-August 4 the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) asked participants in the Unemployment Insurance system to complete a New Mexico Economic Impact survey. The responses from participants will help the Department, and other agencies, in developing policies to assist workers with regaining employment. The survey was made available in English and Spanish, and a total of 3,906 responses were recorded.
A summary of the results taken from the English survey so far included the following:
- An overwhelming concern about rent or mortgage payments at 87.6%, highlighting the need for Congress to continue the additional Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments. The $600 federal CARES Act stipend ended the week of July 25th.
- Large numbers of New Mexicans (89%) are uncomfortable returning to in-person work or education, with health issues and the risk of COVID-19 being the highest rated roadblock to people returning to the workforce. This re-emphasizes the importance of both workplaces engaging in COVID-safe practices and for individuals to wear masks and socially distance to stop the spread of the virus.
- Access to Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and requiring customers to wear masks and socially distance themselves were noted as the most effective ways to give workers a sense of security returning to work.
- Many New Mexicans will be unable to return to work unless they can gain access to health care or their work schedules can provide flexibility or an at-home option.
- Respondents generally have access to a cell phone and internet but will need assistance with access to computers and quiet areas if work or learn at home options are going to be successful.
- Workers do want access to job availability and training programs that lead to concrete career pathways.
Over the past several weeks, NMDWS has engaged in virtual town halls with employer partners in the construction, agriculture, and hospitality industries highlighting COVID Safe practices. On August 5th, NMDWS partnered with the New Mexico Higher Education Department to host a Town Hall focused on resources and opportunities to obtain the skills that will lead to jobs in New Mexico’s most in-demand occupations. Recordings of these events can be found at www.youtube.com/NMDWS. The Department will also be escalating efforts to inform workers on where to find available jobs in a COVID-safe manner in the coming months.
The Lujan Grisham Administration will continue to use all resources at our disposal to educate, empower, and enforce COVID-safe practices and make resources like training and equipment available to workers as the recovery from this global pandemic continues.
The survey will remain available until August 14, 2020. Links to the survey in both English and Español, as-well-as the full survey results can be found at https://www.dws.state.nm.us/Economic-Impact-Survey.