Arkansas Unemployment Falls to 7.6 Percent in January

by Lance Turner  on Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2012 10:15 am  

Arkansas' unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in January, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 7.8 percent in December, according to a report Tuesday by the state Department of Workforce Services.

The report said Arkansas' civilian labor force increased by 4,000, a result of 5,900 more employed and 1,900 fewer unemployed Arkansans.

The decline in the jobless rate mirrored the drop in U.S. unemployment, which fell two-tenths of a percentage point from 8.5 percent in December to 8.3 percent in January.

"The number of employed in Arkansas rose 5,900 in January to reach 1,277,300, a level we have not seen since 2009," DWS Communications Director Kimberly Friedman said in a news release. "This gain contributed to the decline in the unemployment rate, which is half of a percentage point lower than it was a year ago."

Download the full report (PDF) here.

The 7.6 percent rate was also less than it was in January 2011, when it stood at 8.1 percent. At the time, 110,300 Arkansans were unemployed.

Arkansas was among 48 states and the District of Columbia to reported year-over-year unemployment rate decreases. New York saw an increase and Illinois had no change, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Arkansas was also among 45 states and the District of Columbia that reported month-to-month unemployment rate decreases. New York posted a rate increase, and four states had no change.

Gains in Health Care, Government 

According to the report, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 3,900 since January 2011. Six industry sectors saw gains, and five sectors saw declines. Among them:

  • Educational and health care gained 3,700 jobs, with the most gains occurring in heath care and social assistance.
  • Government added 3,000 jobs, mostly on expansions at elementary and secondary schools.
  • Leisure and hospitality added 2,400 jobs, mostly in food services.
  • Construction gained 1,700 jobs.
  • Manufacturing lost a net 4,400 jobs, as nondurable goods manufacturing shed 5,700 jobs due to layoffs and closures.

Since December, nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 15,900. Eight industry sectors recorded gains, one sector increased and two -- information and educational and health services -- were flat. Among them:

  • Jobs in government shed 6,000, with 5,000 of those at the state level, as public universities ended the semester.
  • Trade, transportation and utilities lost 6,000 jobs too, with retail trade dropping by 5,300 jobs at the end of the temporary holiday hiring season.



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