Employment numbers improved for the first time in a year as Arkansas’ jobless rate fell one-tenth of a percent to 7.1% in April.

Labor data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and released today by the state Department of Workforce Services, showed Arkansas’ civilian labor force rose by an estimated 900 net new workers, a result of 1,700 more employed and 800 fewer unemployed Arkansans from March to April.

Still, there is an overall decline in workforce numbers on a year-over-year basis.

One year ago, Arkansas’ unemployment rate stood at 7.3%. The U.S. unemployment rate in April 2013 fell one-tenth of a point to 7.5%.

“Employment in Arkansas increased 1,700 in April, the first employment gain since April 2012. This increase, combined with the minor decline in unemployment, was enough to cause the rate to decrease to 7.1 percent,” said DWS Communications Director Kimberly Friedman.

From the separate monthly survey of employers, Arkansas saw significant gains in seasonal industries.

Leisure and hospitality and the trade, transportation and utilities sectors posted the biggest one month gains, while information related employment and mining and logging saw declines.

A year-over-year comparison of those employment sectors showed the trade, transportation and utilities sector has been on a tear in job creation with an estimated 11,600 jobs gained in the past 12 months.

Manufacturing and construction employment in Arkansas has suffered over the past year despite low interest rates and national improvement in those sectors.

An overview of all job categories showed:

April 2013 vs. April 2012
Mining/Logging -1,200
Construction -2,600
Manufacturing -1,100
Trade/Transportation +11,600
Information -400
Financial +400
Professional/Business +500
Education/Health +4,200
Leisure/Hospitality +300
Government -1,000

You can read the full employment report here.

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