Arkansas’ jobless rate during March fell to 7.4%, with the estimate of employment during the month totaling more than 26,000 compared to March 2011.
The March report also shows that Arkansas gained an estimated 5,504 between February and March 2012.
Job gains of 2,800 in Arkansas’ government employment, 4,800 in education and health services and 4,500 in the tourism sector boosted Arkansas’ employment in March to 1,286,203, well ahead of the 1,260,062 during March 2011.
The gains in several sectors helped overcome a loss of 4,200 jobs in Arkansas’ manufacturing sector between March 2011 and March 2012.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday indicates that the March jobless rate was an estimated 7.4%, down from 7.6% during February and below the 8% in March 2011.
February marks the 37th consecutive month the Arkansas jobless rate has been above 7%.
The Oklahoma jobless rate was 5,4% in March, down from the 6% during February and below the 5.9% during March 2011. Oklahoma’s jobless rate has posted below 7% since September 2010.
The Missouri jobless rate was 7.4% during March, unchanged from February and below the 8.7% during March 2011.
The U.S. rate during March was 8.2%, down from 8.3% during February and below the 8.9% during March 2011.
ARKANSAS SECTOR NUMBERS
• In the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — Arkansas’ largest job sector — employment during March was an estimated 237,300, below the 237,400 during February but ahead of the 235,600 during March 2011. Peak employment in the sector during 2011 was 240,400 during January 2009.
• Manufacturing jobs in Arkansas during March totaled 156,200, unchanged from February and well below the 160,400 during March 2011. Employment in the once booming manufacturing sector fell in 2011 to levels not seen since early 1968. The December jobs figure is almost 34% below the January 2001 sector employment of 236,000.
• Government job employment during March was 220,200, up compared to the 217,400 during February but below the 221,100 during March 2011.
• The state’s Education and Health Services sector during March had 170,900 jobs, up from 166,100 during February and up from 169,900 during March 2011. Employment in the sector us up almost 27% compared to January 2002.
• Arkansas’ tourism sector (leisure & hospitality) employed 103,300 during March, above 101,300 during February and well ahead of the 98,800 during March 2011.
• The construction sector employed an estimated 46,700 employed during March, down from 47,000 during March 2011 and below the 48,800 during February.