Monthly Unemployment Rate Falls To 5.6% In January

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 30 views 

Arkansas’ unemployment rate fell one point in January to 5.6% as the state’s growing labor pool added another 9,200 workers, according to state Department of Workforce Services (DWS) officials.

As of January 2015, the state’s civilian labor force now has 1,321,600 workers, with 1,247,200 employed and another 74,400 receiving unemployment benefits. The state’s shrinking unemployment rate is also one point below the U.S. jobless rate that rose one-tenth of a percentage point in January to 5.7%

“Between December and January, employment in Arkansas rose 9,100. There are now 38,000 more employed in the state, compared to January 2014,” DWS Communications Director Becky Heflin said of the seasonally adjusted monthly report.

Despite the new workers added to the state’s growing labor pool, Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll employment declined 18,000 month-to-month to total 1,190,400. Nine major industry sectors posted losses, while one sector increased and one remained stable, officials. Jobs in government saw the biggest loss with a decline of 6,100 at the state and local level.

Employment in trade, transportation and utilities dropped by 6,000 as temporary holiday hiring ended following the Christmas shopping season. The state’s manufacturing sector lost ground by 2,400 jobs.

Jobs in educational and health services and leisure and hospitality sector were both down by 1,100, while good services lost 1,000 workers.

But the news wasn’t all bad.

Compared to January 2014, payroll jobs in Arkansas rose by 29,500. Nine major industry sectors posted growth, with six adding 2,600 or more jobs, each. The biggest gainer came in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, which increased by 7,700.

Expansions also occurred in the leisure and hospitality (6,700), food services (5,600), and professional and business services (5,400), all major subsectors. Most of those gains were in administrative and support services (+3,900), which includes employment agencies.

Jobs in construction increased 3,300, with specialty trade contractors reporting a majority of the growth (+2,200). Educational and health services added 2,600 jobs, mostly in health care and social assistance (+2,400). Employment in manufacturing rose 2,600. Durable goods manufacturing reported an increase of 1,700 jobs.

According to U.S. Labor Department officials, regional and state unemployment rates were little changed across the U.S. in January. Twenty-four states had unemployment rate decreases from December, 8 states had increases, and 18 states and the District of Columbia had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, three states had increases, and two states had no change. North Dakota had the lowest jobless rate in January, 2.8%. Mississippi and Nevada had the highest unemployment rates among the states, 7.1% each.

Arkansas monthly unemployment numbers are produced each month by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics and released by DWS.