Arkansas jobless rate sets new low at 3.4% in July

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 220 views 

Arkansas’ jobless rate fell to a record low of 3.4% in July from the 3.5% in June, and below the 3.6% in July 2018. Year-over-year, the state economy added 15,625 jobs, a 1.2% increase according to data posted Friday (Aug, 16) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of employed in Arkansas during July was an estimated 1,316,265, up 15,625 jobs compared with July 2018. The state’s labor force – the number of people eligible to work – was 1,363,167 in July up 1% compared with the 1,349,795 in July 2018. The July numbers are preliminary and subject to revision.

Arkansans without jobs in July totaled 46,902, down from 49,155 in July 2018 and lower than the 47,294 unemployed in June. Non-farm employment totaled 1,274,400 in July, down from the 1,275,300 in June and ahead of the 1,262,300 in July 2018.

Sectors with the biggest year-over-year gains were Leisure and Hospitality (5,000 new jobs), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (1,900) and Manufacturing (1,900). The Professional and Business services sector posted the largest year-over-year loss (down 2,100 jobs).

Jobs in the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector – the state’s largest job category – was 253,100 in July, up from 252,500 in June and up from the 251,200 in July 2018. The sector hit an employment record of 253,900 in January.

The Government sector employed 212,700 in July, up from 212,300 in June and up from the 211,800 in July 2018. Sector employment hit a peak of 224,100 in May 2010.

The Education and Health Services sector employed 191,900 in July, unchanged from June and above the 191,500 in July 2018. April set a record for sector employment at 192,600.

Arkansas’ manufacturing sector had 162,400 jobs, down from 163,200 in June but ahead of the 160,500 jobs in July 2018. Manufacturing, once the state’s largest jobs sector, has shed 85,200 jobs – down 34.4% – 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 145,300 in July, down from 147,400 in June and down from 147,400 July 2018. The sector set a jobs record of 147,800 in May.

The state’s Leisure and Hospitality (tourism) sector had 123,200 jobs in July, up from 122,600 in June and above the 118,200 in July 2018. If the estimate stands, the July number marks a new jobs record for the sector.

Arkansas’ Construction sector had 53,000 jobs in July, down from 53,200 in June and up from 50,600 in July 2018. The sector reached record employment of 57,700 in February 2006.

Unemployment rates were lower in July in six states, higher in two state, and stable in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

Vermont had the lowest unemployment rates in July at 2.1%. The rates in Alabama (3.3), Arkansas (3.4), Maine (3%) and New Jersey (3.3) set new lows. (All state series begin in 1976.) Alaska had the highest jobless rate at 6.3%. The data also showed that 14 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 3.7%, eight states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 28 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

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