Arkansas’ labor force down in June, jobless rate dips to 6.2%

by The City Wire staff ( 4 views 

Arkansas’ jobless rate fell to 6.2% in June, with the number of employed virtually flat compared to June 2013 and the labor force size shrinking by almost 20,000 in the year-over-year period. However, the monthly estimate showed a gain of 3,200 jobs year-over-year in the state’s troubled manufacturing sector.

The June rate of 6.2% was below the May rate of 6.4% and below the June 2013 rate of 7.6%, according to the report issued Friday (July 18) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The June figures are subject to revision.

Arkansas’ labor force was an estimated 1.305 million in June, below the 1.315 million in May, and down 1.46% compared to 1.325 million in June 2013. The year-over-year comparison shows an estimated 19,465 fewer Arkansans in the labor force. There are 53,545 fewer Arkansans in the labor force compared to June 2007, a decline of almost 3.93%.

The number of employed in Arkansas during June was 1.224 million, below May employment of 1.231 million, and just 196 estimated jobs fewer compared to levels in June 2013. The number of unemployed was an estimated 81,609 during June, down from the 84,199 in May, and well below the 100,825 in June 2013.

Arkansas’ annual average jobless rate fell from 7.9% during 2011 to a revised 7.5% during 2012. The initial annual average jobless rate for Arkansas during 2013 is 7.5%.

Year-over-year, the Leisure and Hospitality (tourism) sector was up 3,800 jobs, manufacturing was up 3,200 jobs, Education and Health Services jobs rose by 3,000, and the construction sector was up 2,300 jobs.

In the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — Arkansas’ largest job sector — employment during June was an estimated 241,700, down from 243,100 in May and ahead of the 240,300 during June 2013. Employment in the sector hit a high of 251,800 in March 2007.

Manufacturing jobs in Arkansas during June totaled 155,200, up compared to 153,500 in May and above the 152,000 in June 2013. Employment in the manufacturing sector fell in 2013 to levels not seen since early 1968. Peak employment in the sector was 247,300 in February 1995.

Government job employment during June was 214,600, down from 214,800 in May and below the 215,500 during June 2013.

The state’s Education and Health Services sector during June had 174,600 jobs, down from the 176,000 during May and up from 171,600 during June 2013. Employment in the sector is up more than 22% compared to June 2004.

Arkansas’ tourism sector (leisure & hospitality) employed 108,700 during June, down from 108,800 during May, and above the 104,900 during June 2013. Employment in this sector reached a high of 109,100 in March.

The construction sector employed an estimated 47,300 in June, up from 47,000 in May and above the 45,000 in June 2013. The sector is off the employment high of 57,600 reached in March 2007.

The BLS report also noted that 49 states had unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, and one state had and increase. The national jobless rate during June was 6.1%, and was down from the 7.5% in June 2013.

Rhode Island and Mississippi had the highest unemployment rate among the states in June at 7.9%. North Dakota again had the lowest jobless rate at 2.7%.

The June jobless rate in Oklahoma was 4.5%, down from 4.6% in May and down from 5.5% in June 2013.

Missouri’s jobless rate during June was 6.5%, down from 6.6% in May and down from 6.8% in June 2013.