January sees Arkansas jobless rate fall to 7.6%

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 88 views 

Arkansas’ January jobless rate was 7.6%, down from a revised December rate of 7.8%, and below the 8.1% during January 2011.

Employment in Arkansas during January was an estimated 1.277 million, up from 1.257 million during January 2011. The number of unemployed fell from 110,284 during January 2011 to 105,169 during January 2012.

Despite the decline, January marks the 35th consecutive month the Arkansas jobless rate has been above 7%. Arkansas was one of 48 states to post an unemployment rate dip in January compared to January 2011, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Tuesday morning (Mar. 13).

“The number of employed in Arkansas rose 5,900 in January to reach 1,277,300, a level we have not seen since 2009. This gain contributed to the decline in the unemployment rate, which is half of a percentage point lower than it was a year ago,” noted a statement from the Arkansas Department of Workforce services.

The Oklahoma jobless rate was 6.1% in January, down from the 6.3% during December and down from 6.2% during January 2011. Oklahoma’s jobless rate has posted below 7% since September 2010. The U.S. rate during January was 8.3%, down from 8.5% in December and down from 9.1% in January 2010.

Also, figures in the latest report revise the 2011 job figures for most Arkansas sectors. Each year, the BLS conducts “benchmark revisions” that updates previous data with new population and other data. For example, Arkansas manufacturing employment during December was revised up to 156,000 from the initial report of 155,000. Also, employment in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector during December was revised to 237,000 from the initial report of 235,200.

ARKANSAS SECTOR SHIFTS
• In the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — Arkansas’ largest job sector — employment during January was an estimated 239,200, well ahead of the 236,500 during January 2011. Peak employment in the sector during 2011 was 240,400 during January 2009.

• Manufacturing jobs in Arkansas during January totaled an estimated 156,300, up slightly from 156,000 in December, but below the 160,900 during December 2010. Employment in the once booming manufacturing sector fell in 2011 to levels not seen since early 1968. The December jobs figure is more than 33.8% below the January 2001 sector employment of 236,000.

• Employment in government jobs during January was 218,800, below the 220,900 during December and above the 216,900 during January 2011.

• The state’s Education and Health Services sector during January had 169,700, jobs up from a revised 168,000 during December and up from 165,700 during January 2011. The original December 2011 report had 170,800 jobs in the sector. Employment in the sector us up almost 27% compared to January 2002.

• The construction sector employed an estimated 48,400 employed during January, down from 446,500 during December but up from 46,500 during January 2011.