Unemployment Rates Down in 29 States, including Arkansas, in February

by Lee Hogan  on Friday, Mar. 28, 2014 10:36 am  

Arkansas was one of 29 states to see jobless rates decrease in February from the previous month. But the state's unemployment rate remained above the national average.

According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10 states saw an increase in unemployment while 11 states and the District of Columbia saw no change from January. To download the full report, click here (PDF).

Arkansas saw an unemployment rate of 7.1 percent in February, down 0.2 percent from January. The U.S. average was 6.7 percent for February. Still, Arkansas was one of only 10 states to see a significant statistical decline in over-the-month unemployment rates.

Rhode Island had the highest unemployment rate in February at 9.0 percent, while North Dakota enjoyed the lowest at 2.6 percent.

Arkansas' labor force was estimated at 1.33 million in February. That's approximately 2,400 more workers than a year ago. Its number of unemployed workers was estimated at 94,100 in February, down almost 5,000 from a year ago, and almost 3,000 from January.

Compared to a year ago, Arkansas' jobless rate is down 0.4 percent. It was one of 49 states, plus the District of Columbia, to see a decrease compared to February 2013. Alaska, at 6.5 percent, was the only state to see no change from a year ago.

Regionally, the South had the lowest unemployment rate at 6.1 percent. The region was also the only to see a significant drop in over-the-month rates, down 0.1 percent. Additionally, the South, along with the Northeast, saw the biggest decline in jobless rates from a year ago, down 1.2 percent. The West, 1.1 percent, and the Midwest, 0.8 percent, also saw significant declines from February 2013.

Nonfarm employment

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 33 states, including Arkansas, while 17 states and the District of Columbia saw a decrease. 

In all, Arkansas' nonfarm employment was estimated at 1.19 million, slightly up from January, and better than an estimated 1.17 million in February 2013.

Here's a breakdown of Arkansas employment numbers by sectors:

•Trade, transportation and utilities was the largest job sector for Arkansas with an estimated 244,800 employed in February, which was up from 243,600 in January, and 241,700 a year ago.

•Government jobs came in at about 215,600 workers in February, down from 216,000 a year ago, but up from 215,200 in January.

•Education and health services employed about 173,800 Arkansans in February, up from 173,300 in January and 171,600 a year ago.

•Manufacturing jobs, estimated at 154,300 in February, were up from 153,600 in January and 153,800 a year ago.

•Professional and business services employed about 128,400 in February. Those numbers are down from 129,300 in January, but up, slightly, from 128,300 a year ago.

•Leisure and hospitality employed an estimated 109,000 in February, the same as January numbers, but up from 104,400 a year ago.

•Financial activities employment numbers, estimated at 49,300 in February, were down from 50,000 in January and 49,400 a year ago.

•Construction jobs employed an estimated 48,900 Arkansans in February, up from 48,100 in January and 46,700 a year ago.



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