Arkansas job growth relatively flat in January, jobless rate at 3.5%

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 163 views 

Year-over-year job growth rose just 0.36% in Arkansas, with the January jobless rate pegged at 3.5%, down from 3.6% in January 2019. Most of the state’s job growth was in the Education and Health Services sector which had 3,400 new year-over-year jobs.

The number of employed in Arkansas during January was an estimated 1,318,224, up 4,697 jobs compared with January 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The state’s labor force – the number of people eligible to work – was 1,366,290 in January up 0.3% compared with the 1,362,313 in January 2019. The January numbers are preliminary and subject to revision.

Arkansans without jobs in January totaled 48,066, down from 48,786 in January 2019 and below the 48,186 unemployed in December.

Sectors with the biggest year-over-year gains were Education and Health Services (3,400 new jobs), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (1,700), and Leisure and Hospitality (700).

The January report also included revisions to past jobs data that changed some of the monthly jobless rates in 2019.

“The revision of statewide Civilian Labor Force calculations shows that Arkansas’ unemployment rates in 2019 were, for the most part, lower than originally estimated. Updated data indicates that the jobless rate stayed between 3.5 percent and 3.6 percent last year, with the January rate unchanged from December 2019,” BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price said in a statement.

Jobs in the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector – the state’s largest job category – was 255,000 in January, up from 254,700 in December and up from the 253,300 in January 2019. If it stands, the January employment set a new record for the sector.

The Government sector employed 210,700 in January, up from 210,100 in December and below the 212,200 in January 2019. Sector employment hit a peak of 224,100 in May 2010.

The Education and Health Services sector employed 197,000 in January, up from the 196,400 in December and above the 193,600 in January 2019. January set a record for sector employment.

Arkansas’ manufacturing sector had 160,700 jobs, down from 161,900 in December and down from the 162,700 jobs in January 2019. Manufacturing, once the state’s largest jobs sector, has shed 86,900 jobs – down 35.1% – 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 145,600 in January, down from 148,000 in December and down from 146,400 January 2019. December set a record for sector employment.

The state’s Leisure and Hospitality (tourism) sector had 120,500 jobs in January, up from 120,000 in December and above the 119,800 in January 2019. The sector reached a record for employment in July 2019 with 120,800 jobs.

The Financial Activities sector had 61,900 jobs in January, up from 61,700 in December and down from the 62,300 in January 2019. The sector hit record employment of 62,900 in August.