Arkansas jobless rate still 8.3%, manufacturing jobs hit new low

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 23 views 

Arkansas’ jobless rate during September was 8.3%, unchanged from August and up over 7.8% in September 2010. The number of unemployed in Arkansas increased an estimated 6,301 between September 2010 and September 2011.

The September rate marks the 31st consecutive month the Arkansas jobless rate has been above 7%. Prior to the August report, the 8.3% jobless rate had not been reached since March 1987.

Arkansas was one of 10 states to post an unemployment rate increase in September compared to September 2010, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday morning (Oct. 21). The report noted that 38 states posted jobless rate decreases compared to September 2010, and two states were unchanged.

The September report shows a gain of 3,256 in the number of employed in Arkansas, up 0.26% compared to August, but a decline of 0.65% compared to September 2010.

The number of unemployed in Arkansas during September was 112,393, up 0.3% from August, and up 5.9% compared to September 2010.

The Oklahoma jobless rate was 5.9% in September, up from 5.6% in August, and unchanged from September 2010. The U.S. rate during September was 9.1%, unchanged from August and down from 9.6% in September 2010.

In the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — Arkansas’ largest job sector — employment during September was an estimated 233,800, down from 235,700 during August and below the 234,400 during September 2010.

Manufacturing jobs in Arkansas during September totaled an estimated 154,800, down from 155,900 in August and well below the 159,800 during September 2010. The September jobs total is the lowest ever for manufacturing jobs in Arkansas since May 1968 when sector employment was 156,600. Also, the September jobs figure is more than 34% below the January 2001 sector employment of 236,000.

Employment in government jobs during September was 220,400, higher than the 219,700 during August and above the 215,600 during September 2010.

One of the few bright spots was in Arkansas’ Education and Health Services sector. September jobs in the sector totaled 167,800, up over the 167,400 during August and above the 166,000 in September 2010.

The construction sector also saw a gain, with an estimated 48,600 employed during September. August employment was 46,800, and September 2010 employment was 47,700.

“Over the year, 28 states experienced statistically significant changes in employment, 27 of which were increases. The largest increase occurred in California (+250,700), followed by Texas (+248,500), New York (+98,100), and Florida (+93,500). The only state with an over-the-year statistically significant decrease in employment was Delaware (-6,100),” noted the BLS report.