State jobless rate falls to 7.5% in June

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 28 views 

An estimated 8,300 person drop in Arkansas’ civilian labor force helped push the state’s June unemployment rate down to 7.5% despite an estimated 4,100 drop in the number of employed.

Tuesday’s (July 20) report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics places the number of unemployed in June to 100,943, a welcome 3.9% drop from the 105,044 in May 2010, and a 0.76% increase compared to June 2009.

Arkansas’ jobless rate hit 7.8% in March, the highest point since May 1988. The U.S. June unemployment rate was 9.5%, down 9.7% from May 2010 and unchanged from the June 2009 rate.

“The decrease in Arkansas’ unemployment rate this month mirrors the trend seen at the national level. This month’s rate of 7.5 percent is the state’s lowest unemployment rate since October 2009. We also are two full percentage points below the national rate,” Arkansas Department of Workforce Services Communications Director Kimberly Friedman said in a statement.

The state’s troubled manufacturing sector continues to recover from a January low of 157,700 jobs. June saw 166,400 employed in the sector, up 0.6% compared to May 2010 and up 2.4% compared to June 2009.

The manufacturing sector in Arkansas has lost 60,800 jobs in the past 10 years (June 2001-June 2010), or 26.7% of sector employment.

The state’s total nonfarm employment gained 6,000 jobs between May and June, reaching 1.165 million. The June figure is also above the 1.161 million in June 2009, and trending up from the 1.156 million in January. However, the state’s nonfarm employment is down 43,200 jobs since the peak of 1.208 million in February 2008.

Greg Kaza, economic researcher and executive director of the Arkansas Policy Foundation, said the positive employment gain is always welcome but reflects a “weak jobs recovery” that may not soon see the state return to the February 2008 employment strength.


• Arkansas’ civilian labor force stood at an estimated 1.352 million in June, down 0.6% compared to May 2010 and down 1% compared to June 2009.

• Construction jobs fell to 51,900 in June from 52,000 in May. Jobs in the sector fell below 50,000 in February for the first time since December 1998.

• The number of government jobs grew in June to an estimated 222,900. The level is 0.8% higher than May 2010 and 2.9% above June 2009.

• Trade, transportation and utilities, the largest sector in the Arkansas economy, continues to recover from an overall decline that began in January 2008. Jobs in this sector totaled 229,300 in June, up 0.35% from May 2010, but down 2.25% compared to June 2009. The sector has lost 20,900 jobs since January 2008.

• Arkansas’ tourism and hospitality sector continues to struggle, with June employment in the sector dropping to 97,500. The sector employed an estimated 98,300 in May, and down 2.98% from 100,500 in June 2009. The sector reached an all-time employment high of 101,800 in August 2008, but has seen its numbers steadily fall since.