Number of Arkansans employed rose 3.5% in September, jobless rate falls to 4%

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 351 views 

The number of employed in Arkansas rose 3.5% in September and the number of unemployed fell almost 32% compared with September 2020. The state’s jobless rate fell to 4%, down from 4.2% in August and well below the 5.9% in September 2020.

The number of employed in Arkansas during September was an estimated 1,303,751, up 45,532 jobs compared with September 2020, and above the 1,300,190 in August, according to Friday’s (Oct. 22) report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The September numbers are preliminary and subject to revision.

The state’s labor force – the number of people eligible to work – was 1,358,010 in September, up compared with the 1,337,649 in September 2020, and above the 1,357,416 in August. Arkansans without jobs in September totaled 54,259, down from 57,226 in August, and down 31.7% from the 79,430 in September 2020.

The biggest year-over-year sector gains were in Professional and Business Services (10,200 more jobs), and Manufacturing (up 7,200 jobs). Of the large employment sectors, those with job losses was Government which had 5,500 fewer jobs year over year, and Construction with 700 fewer jobs.

Unemployment rates were lower in September in 27 states and the District of Columbia, higher in 1 state, and stable in 22 states. Forty-eight states and the District had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier and two states were little changed. The national unemployment rate, 4.8%, fell by 0.4 percentage point over the month and was 3 points lower than in September 2020.

California and Nevada had the highest unemployment rates in September at 7.5% each. Nebraska and Utah had the lowest jobless rates at 2% and 2.4%, respectively. The rates in Georgia (3.2%) and Nebraska (2%) set new lows since the state series began in 1976. In total, 19 states had jobless rates lower than the U.S. figure of 4.8%, 16 states had higher rates, and 15 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

Jobs in the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector – the state’s largest job category – was 252,700 in September, down from 249,900 in August and above the 247,600 in September 2020. The sector reached record employment of 253,700 in January 2020.

The Government sector employed 202,900 in September, down from the 203,400 in August and below the 208,400 in September 2020. Sector employment hit a peak of 224,100 in May 2010.

The Education and Health Services sector employed 187,500 in September, down from 189,700 in August and above the 186,3000 in September 2020. February 2020 set a record for sector employment at 195,300.

Arkansas’ manufacturing sector had 161,100 jobs, above the 161,000 in August and up from the 153,900 jobs in September 2020. Manufacturing, once the state’s largest jobs sector, posted record employment of 247,600 in July 1995.

Professional and Business Services employed 148,200 in September, down from 148,300 in August and well above the 138,000 September 2020. The August employment marked a new high for the sector.

The state’s Leisure and Hospitality (tourism) sector had 112,900 jobs in September, down from 113,100 in August and above the 107,800 in September 2020. The sector first reached an employment record of 122,900 in December 2019.

The Financial Activities sector had 66,800 jobs in September, up from 66,000 in August and up from the 63,700 in September 2020. The September jobs number marked a new record employment for the sector.

The Construction sector had 51,800 jobs in September, up from 51,700 in August and below the 52,500 in September 2020. The sector reached record employment of 55,200 in January.