Arkansas economy adds 10,700 jobs, jobless rate dips to 3.6%

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 264 views 

Arkansas’ jobless rate fell to 3.6% in April from the 3.7% in March, matching the record low first posted in March 2017. Year-over-year, the state economy added 10,700 jobs, a 0.8% increase.

The jobs data posted Friday (May 17) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the number of employed in Arkansas at 1,310,833, up 10,700 jobs compared with April 2018. The state’s labor force – the number of people eligible to work – was 1,360,466 in April up 0.73% compared with the 1,350,620 in April 2018. The April numbers are preliminary and subject to revision.

Arkansans without jobs in April totaled 49,633, down from 50,487 in April 2018 and better than the 50,739 unemployed in March.

“Employment in Arkansas rose for the fourth straight month, with 10,700 more employed over-the-year. Nonfarm payroll jobs also increased, setting a new record high number of jobs in the State,” Susan Price, BLS program operations manager for the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, noted in a statement.

Non-farm employment totaled 1,273,300 in April, up from the 1,273,100 in March and ahead of the 1,259,900 in April 2018.

Jobs in the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector – the state’s largest job category – was 251,700 in April, down from 252,400 in March and up from the 251,300 in April 2018. The sector hit an employment record of 253,900 in January.

The Government sector employed 213,200 in April, up from 213,000 in March and up from the 211,900 in April 2018. Sector employment hit a peak of 224,100 in May 2010.

The Education and Health Services sector employed 192,800 in April, up from 192,500 in March and above the 190,900 in April 2018. The April job number is a record for the sector.

Arkansas’ manufacturing sector had 163,700 jobs, down from 164,900 in March but ahead of the 160,000 jobs in April 2018. Manufacturing, once the state’s largest jobs sector, has shed 83,900 jobs – down 33.9% – since reaching a record of 247,600 in February 1995. The sector reached a low of 152,000 jobs in July 2013.

Professional and Business Services employed 146,800 jobs in April, up from 146,600 in March and unchanged compared with April 2018. The sector set a jobs record of 147,400 in July 2018.

The state’s Leisure and Hospitality (tourism) sector had 129,700 jobs in April, down from 120,400 in March and above the 117,800 in April 2018. The sector reached an employment high of 120,600 in November 2018.

Unemployment rates were lower in April in four states, higher in one state, and stable in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

Vermont had the lowest unemployment rates in April at 2.2%. The rates in Pennsylvania (3.8), Vermont and Wisconsin (2.8%) set new lows. (All state series begin in 1976.) Alaska had the highest jobless rate at 6.5%. The data also showed that 12 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 3.6%, 11 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 27 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

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