Arkansas December Unemployment Rate at 7.1 Percent

Arkansas' December unemployment rate hit 7.1 percent, up from 7.0 percent in November, according to the state Department of Workforce Services.

According to the report, Arkansas' civilian labor force decreased by 8,500, a result of 8,700 fewer employed Arkansans and 200 more unemployed Arkansans. The United States’ jobless rate remained stable at 7.8 percent.

"Arkansas’ unemployment rate increase was spurred by the decline in employment, which brought down the civilian labor force total," DWS Communications Director Kimberly Friedman said in a news release. "The jobless rate is seven-tenths of a percentage point lower than in December 2011 and is still significantly lower than the national rate."

Click here (PDF) to view the full report.

Non-farm payroll jobs in Arkansas fell 5,400 to 1,171,800 in December, according to DWS. Seven major industry sectors posted losses, led by leisure and hospitality which fell 3,000. The majority of jobs lost in the sector came in accomodation and food services (minus 2,800), a typical seasonal trend, DWS officials said.

Manufacturing saw the biggest gains in December, with 300 jobs added.

Since December 2011, non-farm payrool employment rose 7,700 with growth in seven major industry sectors led by educational and health services and leisure and hospitality, each with gains of roughly 3,600.

The biggest drop over the past year occurred in construction, which lost roughly 2,700 jobs attributed in part to reported losses in heavy and civil engineering construction.