September marked the 44th consecutive month Arkansas’ jobless rate has been above 7%, but if employment trends continue that streak could soon come to an end.
The September jobless rate in Arkansas was 7.1%, below the 7.3% in August and a full point lower than the 8.1% in September 2011.
Employed Arkansans were an estimated 1.278 million in September, up 1.5% compared to September 2011, according to the Friday (Oct. 19) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The BLS estimate shows 19,332 more Arkansans were employed in September than September 2011, with the number of unemployed at 98,276, well below the 110,335 in September 2011.
With an estimated increase of 6,100 jobs, Arkansas’ tourism and travel sector posted the largest year-over-year gain. The next leading sector was education and health services, which had a gain of 4,800 jobs in September compared to September 2011.
“The number of both employed and unemployed Arkansans declined this month, resulting in a decrease in the size of the civilian labor force. This combination of losses triggered the drop in Arkansas’ unemployment rate. This decline in the rate mirrors the trend seen at the national level,” Kimberly Friedman, communications director for the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, said in a statement.
The workforce fell in September to 1.376 million, down 2,636 from August but up 7,273 compared to September 2011.
ARKANSAS SECTOR NUMBERS
In the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — Arkansas’ largest job sector — employment during September was an estimated 233,100, below the revised 233,400 during August and ahead of the 232,500 during September 2011. Peak employment in the sector was 240,400 during January 2009.
Manufacturing jobs in Arkansas during September totaled 155,500, down from 155,600 in August and down 400 jobs compared to September 2011. Employment in the once booming manufacturing sector fell in 2011 to levels not seen since early 1968. The June jobs figure is more than 34% below the January 2001 sector employment of 236,000.
Government job employment during September was 222,600, up compared to the 222,100 during August and ahead of the 221,000 during September 2011.
The state’s Education and Health Services sector during September 172,100 jobs, down from the 173,900 during August and up from 167,300 during September 2011. Employment in the sector is up more than 30% compared to January 2002.
Arkansas’ tourism sector (leisure & hospitality) employed 103,500 during September, unchanged compared to August and ahead of the 97,400 during September 2011.
The construction sector employed an estimated 44,200 during September, unchanged from a revised August but below the 47,300 during September 2011. Employment in the sector is down more than 18% from January 2002.
NATIONAL, REGIONAL DATA
The BLS figures show that 44 states had jobless rate decreases in September compared to September 2011 and six states saw rate increases. The U.S. jobless rate during September was 7.8%, down from 8.1% in August and below 9% during September 2011.
The highest jobless rate was 11.8% in Nevada, and the lowest rate was 3% in North Dakota.
Oklahoma’s jobless rate was 5.2% in September, up from 5.1% in August and below the 6.3% during September 2011. The jobless rate in Missouri during September was 6.9%, down from 7.2% in August and below the 8.5% during September 2011.