Arkansas’ jobless rate reaches record low of 3% in March

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 327 views 

A more than 5% decline in the number of unemployed helped push Arkansas’ jobless rate to a new record low of 3% in March, and better than the 3.1% in March 2022. Numbers in the March report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) are subject to revision.

The number of employed in Arkansas during March was an estimated 1,334,589, up 10,118 jobs, or 0.76%, compared with March 2022, and above the 1,329,928 in February, according to the BLS report posted Friday (April 21).

Arkansas’ labor force, the number of people eligible to work, in March was 1,375,426, up 0.6% from the 1,367,533 in March 2022, and above the 1,373,598 in February. The state’s labor force participation rate was 57.4% in March, just below the 57.6% in March 2022.

Arkansans without jobs in March totaled 40,837, below the 43,670 in February, and down 5.16% compared with the 43,062 in March 2022.

The biggest year-over-year sector gains were in Trade, Transportation and Utilities (7,300 more jobs), Education and Health Services (6,800 more jobs), and Leisure and Hospitality (5,900 more jobs). March saw record employment in the Leisure and Hospitality, and Construction sectors.

Unemployment rates were lower in March in 18 states, and stable in 32 states. Eleven states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, 10 states had increases, and 29 states had little change. The national unemployment rate was 3.5%.

South Dakota had the lowest jobless rate in March at 1.9%. The next lowest rates were in Nebraska and North Dakota at 2.1% each. The rates in Alabama (2.3%), Arkansas (3%), Maryland (2.7%), Mississippi (3.5%), Montana (2.3%), West Virginia (3.4%), and Wisconsin (2.5%) set new series lows. (All state series begin in 1976.) Nevada had the highest jobless rate at 5.5%. In total, 18 states had jobless rates lower than the U.S. figure of 3.5%, 9 states had higher rates, and 23 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities
March 2023: 276,000
February 2023: 276,500
March 2022: 268,700
February marked a new employment record for the sector.

March 2023: 208,800
February 2023: 208,700
March 2022: 207,100
Sector employment hit a peak of 224,100 in May 2010.

Education and Health Services
March 2023: 203,300
February 2023: 203,800
March 2022: 195,900
January marked an employment record for the sector with 203,800 jobs.

March 2023: 164,200
February 2023: 164,200
March 2022: 161,200
Manufacturing, once the state’s largest jobs sector, posted record employment of 247,600 in February 1995.

Professional and Business Services
March 2023: 152,300
February 2023: 152,700
March 2022: 151,200
February marked an employment record for the sector.

Leisure and Hospitality
March 2023: 126,600
February 2023: 126,500
March 2022: 120,700
March marked a new employment record for the sector.

Financial Activities
March 2023: 69,900
February 2023: 70,100
March 2022: 70,100
The sector had record employment of 71,500 in September 2022.

March 2023: 60,500
February 2023: 60,100
March 2022: 56,700
March marked a new employment record for the sector.