Arkansas Unemployment Rate Falls to 6.4 Percent

by Lance Turner  on Friday, Jun. 20, 2014 9:11 am  

(Photo by Tre Baker)

Arkansas unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point from April, coming in at 6.4 percent in May, according to a report Friday by the state Department of Workforce Services.

The unemployment rate is also more than a full percentage point lower than it was this time last year, when it was 7.5 percent in May 2013.

The report showed Arkansas' civilian labor force declined by 7,300, a result of 4,600 fewer employed and 2,700 fewer unemployed Arkansans. Since this time last year, the labor force is down by 10,900.

The U.S. jobless rate was 6.3 percent in May.

More: Download the full report (PDF).

DWS Communications Director Becky Heflin noted that Arkansas' unemployment rate has now dropped for eight consecutive months.

Since May 2013, the department said, nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas have increased by 13,500. Six major industry sectors posted growth; four sectors declined; and one was unchanged:

  • Trade, transportation, and utilities added 4,800 jobs. Retail trade reported a majority of the gain (3,100 jobs).
  • Jobs in leisure and hospitality rose by 3,000, with most of the expansion in food services, which gained 2,800 jobs.
  • Educational and health services increased by 2,700. All growth occurred in health care and social assistance.
  • Manufacturing added 1,900 jobs, mostly in durable goods manufacturing, which rose by 1,400.
  • Jobs in construction rose by 1,500. A majority of the additions were in specialty trade contractors.

Across the County

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics said regional and state unemployment rates were "generally little changed" in May. It reported 20 states with unemployment rate decreases from April, 16 states with increases and 14 states and the District of Columbia that had no change.

In all, 49 states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate declines from a year earlier and one state had an increase. The national jobless rate in May but was 1.2 percentage points lower than in May 2013.

Rhode Island again had the highest unemployment rate among the states in May at 8.2 percent. North Dakota again had the lowest jobless rate, 2.6 percent.



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