How do jobs “go begging” in highest-unemployment state???

The Albuquerque Journal had an interesting and slightly depressing article recently about the number of jobs that remain open lacking applicants even in New Mexico, the State which has had the highest unemployment rate in the nation for several months now. According to the article, employers surveyed gave “lack of applicants” as the reason for 66 percent of the jobs described as hard to fill. “Lack of experience” was cited for nearly 41 percent of jobs.

What does this mean? It’s tough to fully get a grasp on the system, but here are a few thoughts:

For starters, it is clear that our educational system from kindergarten to the university system are not getting the job done in terms of educating people for the jobs available. It would be great to see some truly “outside-the-box” thinking applied to all levels of schooling in New Mexico, but we’d settle for greater K-12 choice and increased resources for vocational education as opposed to traditional four-year degrees. We must especially question what our current higher ed dollars are getting for the tremendous tax dollar investment when apprenticeships might be a superior and much cheaper alternative;

Also, New Mexico has an abysmally-low workforce participation rate. As of April 2017 our rate was 54.1%, 2nd worst in the entire nation. With so many jobs going unfilled, perhaps it is time to ratchet back the generous government benefits and push more New Mexicans to join the work force? Enter President Trump whose budget was (universally and unsurprisingly) panned by Democrats in New Mexico’s Congressional delegation. Trump’s budget would cut programs like SNAP, Disability, and Medicaid all of which can make not working look more attractive than working.

It is somewhat counter-intuitive that a State can have at once a severely elevated unemployment rate and so many jobs unfilled, but this is New Mexico’s reality in 2017.