An estimated gain of 8,585 jobs between March 2018 and March 2019 helped push Arkansas’ jobless rate to 3.7%, better than the 3.8% in March 2018 and the 3.8% in February. The state also saw a slight decline in the number of unemployed.
The state’s jobless rate was better than the U.S. rate of 3.8% in March.
The jobs data posted Friday (April 19) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the number of employed in Arkansas at 1,308,697, up 8.585 jobs, or 0.66%, compared with March 2018. The state’s labor force – the number of people eligible to work – was 1,359,436 in March up 0.62% compared with the 1,350,994 in March 2018.
Arkansans without jobs in March totaled 50,739, down slightly from 50,882 in March 2018 and better than the 51,208 unemployed in February.
“With the addition of 2,079 more employed Arkansans in March, employment in the State has increased for three consecutive months. The number of employed is up 8,585 compared to March 2018,” Susan Price, BLS program operations manager for the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, noted in a statement.
Jobs in the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector – the state’s largest job category – was 252,500 in March, down from 253,900 in February and up from the 251,700 in March 2018. The February employment, if not revised, set a new record for the sector.
The Government sector employed 213,100 in March, down from 213,200 in February and up from the 212,400 in March 2018. Sector employment hit a peak of 224,100 in May 2010.
The Education and Health Services sector employed 192,700 in March, up from 192,400 in February and above the 191,000 in March 2018. The March job number is a record for the sector.
Arkansas’ manufacturing sector had 164,300 jobs, down from 165,000 in February but ahead of the 160,100 jobs in March 2018. Manufacturing, once the state’s largest jobs sector, has shed 83,300 jobs – down 33.6% – since reaching a record of 247,600 in March 1995. The sector reached a low of 152,000 jobs in July 2013.
Professional and Business Services employed 146,500 jobs in March, down from 146,900 in February and below the 146,900 in March 2018. The sector set a jobs record of 147,400 in July 2018.
The state’s Leisure and Hospitality (tourism) sector had 120,700 jobs in March, up from 120,100 in February and above the 118,200 in March 2018. The March jobs number sets a new record for the sector.
Unemployment rates were lower in March in six states, higher in three states, and stable in 41 states and the District of Columbia,
North Dakota and Vermont had the lowest unemployment rates in March at 2.3% each. The rates in these two states, as well as those in Kentucky (4%) and Pennsylvania (3.9%), set new series lows. (All state series begin in 1976.) Alaska had the highest jobless rate at 6.5%. The data also showed that 15 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 3.8%, 10 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 25 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.