Arkansas jobless rate remains at record low of 3.1% in March report

by Michael Tilley (mtille[email protected]) 231 views 

Arkansas’ jobless rate was unchanged at 3.1% in March despite more than 5,200 job gains since February, and the broad Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector accounted for almost 45% of the year-over-year job gains in the March report.

The number of employed in Arkansas during March was an estimated 1,302,465, up 31,600 jobs compared with March 2021, and above the 1,297,210 in February, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report posted Friday (April 15). The March numbers are preliminary and subject to revision. The jobless rate in March 2021 was 4.6%.

Arkansas’ labor force, the number of people eligible to work, in March was 1,343,907 in March, above the 1,332,788 in March 2021, and above the 1,339,399 in February. However, the labor force has 42,074 fewer participants than the pre-pandemic March 2020. The state’s labor force participation rate was 56.6% in March, below the 56.7% in March 2021, and also below the pre-pandemic 59.3% in March 2020.

Arkansans without jobs in March totaled 41,442, down from 42,189 in February, and well below the 61,923 in March 2021. The biggest year-over-year sector gains were in Trade, Transportation & Utilities (14,000 more jobs), and Leisure & Hospitality (up 10,100 jobs).

NATIONAL NUMBERS
Unemployment rates were lower in March in 37 states and stable in 13 states, noted the BLS report. All 50 states and the District had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier. The national unemployment rate was 3.6%.

Nebraska and Utah had the lowest jobless rates in March at 2% each. The next lowest rates were in Indiana at 2.2%, and Montana at 2.3%. The rates in these four states set new series lows, as did the rates in the following eight states (all state series begin in 1976): Alaska (5%), Arizona (3.3%) Georgia (3.1%), Idaho (2.7%), Mississippi (4.2%), Tennessee (3.2%), West Virginia (3.7%), and Wisconsin (2.8%).

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 10 states and was essentially unchanged
in 40 states in March. The largest job gains occurred in California (+60,200), New York (+28,100), and Massachusetts (+21,000).

JOB SECTOR NUMBERS
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities
March 2022: 267,800
February 2022: 267,000
March 2021: 253,8000
The March 2022 level marked a new record for the sector.

Government
March 2022: 208,700
February 2022: 208,900
March 2021: 206,300
Sector employment hit a peak of 224,100 in May 2010.

Education and Health Services
March 2022: 194,100
February 2022: 195,500
March 2021: 196,600
Sector employment set a record of 196,900 in August 2021.

Manufacturing
March 2022: 161,700
February 2022: 161,200
March 2021: 157,100
Manufacturing, once the state’s largest jobs sector, posted record employment of 247,600 in July 1995.

Professional and Business Services
March 2022: 148,800
February 2022: 149,400
March 2021: 142,400
Sector employment set a record of 152,600 in January.

Leisure and Hospitality
March 2022: 121,900
February 2022: 121,00
March 2021: 110,800
The sector first reached an employment record of 124,400 in February 2020.

Financial Activities
March 2022: 66,700
February 2022: 66,700
March 2021: 65,800
The sector first posted record employment of 66,700 in February.

Construction
March 2022: 55,500
February 2022: 55,200
March 2021: 55,100
The sector reached record employment of 57,700 in March 2006.