Arkansas Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.5 Percent

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Friday, May. 19, 2017 11:19 am   1 min read

Arkansas' unemployment rate fell in April to a new record low, 3.5 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from March and six-tenths of a percentage point from April 2016.

"For the fourth month in a row, Arkansas' unemployment rate has declined to record setting lows," BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price said in a news release. "Starting the year at 3.8 percent, the rate has decreased one-tenth of a percentage point each month to 3.5 percent in April."

The state Department of Workforce Services said Arkansas' civilian labor force rose by 6,782, the result of 7,693 more employed and 911 fewer unemployed Arkansans. In April, the U.S. jobless rate stood at 4.4 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from March.

Arkansas was among three states that hit record lows last month. On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor said Colorado and Oregon reported the lowest unemployment rates since 1976. Colorado's rate, at 2.3 percent, was the nation's lowest. In all, 19 states had unemployment rates lower than the national average.  

Compared to April 2016, nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas increased by 19,700. Seven major industry sectors added jobs, while employment in four sectors declined slightly.

  • Jobs in educational and health services rose by 7,000, mostly in health care and social assistance. 
  • Employment in professional and business services increased 5,700. Administrative and support services posted a majority of the growth. 
  • Manufacturing added 3,500 jobs, with expansions in nondurable goods offsetting losses in durable goods. 
  • Moderate gains were reported in leisure and hospitality (+2,500), trade-transportation-utilities (+2,400) and other services (+1,300). 
  • Jobs in government decreased by 1,900, with most of the decline in local government, which the report attributed "in part to reported staff reductions" at public school districts.



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