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Lea County unemployment up amid oil downturn

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The heart of oil and gas country in southeastern New Mexico is seeing unemployment jump and RV parks occupancy rates fall due to the oil downturn.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports Lea County’s unemployment rate is 9.9 percent compared to 6.9 percent last year. According to RV parks around Hobbs, occupancy rates are way down from 100 percent capacities with long waiting lists to about 50-80 percent occupancy.

Hobbs Superintendent TJ Parks says the district is down 150 students as of Tuesday from the same day last year. In Eunice, the count is down to 760 students from 791 last year.

The drop in oil prices has led to lower gross tax receipts for southeastern New Mexico communities and budget cuts.

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