Arkansas Unemployment Rate Dips to 7.1 Percent in April

Arkansas' unemployment rate dipped one-tenth of a percentage point from March to April, settling at 7.1 percent last month, according to a report Friday by the state Department of Workforce Services.

The decline in the state's unemployment rate came as Arkansas' civilian labor force rose by 900, a result of 1,700 more employed and 800 fewer unemployed Arkansans.

At 7.5 percent, the U.S. jobless rate also decreased one-tenth of a percentage point in April.

"Employment in Arkansas increased 1,700 in April, the first employment gain since April 2012," DWS Communications Director Kimberly Friedman said in a news release. "This increase, combined with the minor decline in unemployment, was enough to cause the rate to decrease to 7.1 percent." 

Since 2012, Arkansas nonfarm payroll employment increased by 9,200. Five major industry sectors posted growth, offsetting declines in six industries. Among the gains and losses:

  • Trade, transportation, and utilities added 11,600 jobs, with most of the gain (9,200) in retail trade.
  • Employment in educational and health services rose by 4,200. Most of the sector's growth (3,300) was attributed to hiring in health care and social assistance.
  • Jobs in construction decreased by 2,600 on the completion of large projects.
  • Employment in "other services" declined by 1,500. The sector includes repair and maintenance, personal and laundry services, and membership associations.
  • Mining and logging decreased by 1,200. The decline was related to reported losses in support activities for mining.