With a 3.6% gain in jobs in August compared with August 2020, Arkansas’ jobless rate dipped from 4.3% in July to 4.2% in August, according to Friday’s (Sept. 17) report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The jobless rate was 6.5% in August 2020.
The number of employed in Arkansas during August was an estimated 1,300,179, up 45,354 jobs compared with August 2020, and above the 1,296,767 in July. The August numbers are preliminary and subject to revision.
The state’s labor force – the number of people eligible to work – was 1,357,389 in August, up compared with the 1,341,356 in August 2020, and above the 1,355,738 in July. Arkansans without jobs in August totaled 57,210, down from 58,971 in July, and down 33.9% from the 86,531 in August 2020.
The biggest year-over-year sector gains were in Professional and Business Services (11,500 more jobs), Leisure and Hospitality (up 8,300 jobs) and Manufacturing (up 7,700 jobs). Of the large employment sectors, those with job losses was Government which had 1,800 fewer jobs year over year, and Construction with 800 fewer jobs.
Unemployment rates were lower in August in 15 states and stable in 35 states, the BLS reported. Forty-nine states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier and one state was little changed. Nevada had the highest unemployment rate in August at 7.7%, followed by California and New York, 7.5% and 7.4%, respectively. Nebraska had the lowest jobless rate at 2.2%, which was also a new low for the state. In total, 22 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. rate of 5.2%, 13 states had higher rates, and 15 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.
JOB SECTOR NUMBERS
Jobs in the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector – the state’s largest job category – was 250,100 in August, down from 251,200 in July and above the 247,100 in August 2020. The sector reached record employment of 253,700 in January 2020.
The Government sector employed 203,200 in August, down from the 204,600 in July and below the 211,000 in August 2020. Sector employment hit a peak of 224,100 in May 2010.
The Education and Health Services sector employed 190,800 in August, up from 190,400 in July and above the 185,800 in August 2020. February 2020 set a record for sector employment at 195,300.
Arkansas’ manufacturing sector had 160,500 jobs, below the 161,400 in July and up from the 152,800 jobs in August 2020. Manufacturing, once the state’s largest jobs sector, posted record employment of 247,600 in August 1995.
Professional and Business Services employed 148,300 in August, up from 147,500 in July and well above the 136,800 August 2020. The August employment marks a new high for the sector.
The state’s Leisure and Hospitality (tourism) sector had 113,300 jobs in August, up from 111,300 in July and up 7.9% compared with the 105,000 in August 2020. The sector first reached an employment record of 122,900 in December 2019.
The Financial Activities sector had 65,500 jobs in August, down from 65,900 in July and up from the 63,700 in August 2020. The July jobs number marked a new record employment for the sector.
The Construction sector had 51,900 jobs in August, down from 52,400 in July and below the 52,700 in August 2020. The sector reached record employment of 55,200 in January.