Arkansas’ jobless rate edges up to 7.4%

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 41 views 

Arkansas’s preliminary unemployment rate in July was 7.4%, up more than 2 percentage points over the July 2008 rate of 5%, and up slightly over the 7.2% in June 2009. The last time Arkansas’ unemployment rate was 7.4% or higher was February 1992.

A more telling number is that there were an estimated 32,934 more Arkansans out of work in July 2009 compared to July 2008.

The Oklahoma unemployment rate in July was 6.5%, compared to 3.9% in July 2008, and 6.4% in June.

The U.S. jobless rate in July fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 9.4%.

Arkansas’ civilian labor force decreased 5,200 in July, with 7,500 fewer employed and 2,300 more unemployed Arkansans, according to the report from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

Officials with the DWS continue with the mantra that Arkansas’ jobless rate is not as bad as the nationwide figure.

“This unemployment rate increase was not unexpected, with nonfarm payroll jobs declining between June and July. Arkansas is still feeling the effects of the recession, though we continue to have a jobless rate lower than most other states,” DWS Communications Director Kimberly Friedman said in a statement.

The number of Arkansas nonfarm payroll jobs dropped 27,800 since July 2008, with manufacturing job losses accounting for 19,600 of those lost jobs. According to the DWS, 85% of the decline occurred in durable goods manufacturing — the primary component of manufacturing jobs in the Fort Smith region.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 12,400 jobs, and professional and business services lost 5,600 jobs. The leisure and hospitality sector lost 800 jobs in the 12-month period.

Educational and health services added 10,900 jobs, with health care and social assistance contributing most to the growth, according to the DWS.

The government added 6,700 jobs, with public school employment accounting for most of the gains.

Link here for the BLS information on Arkansas job figures.