Arkansas Jobless Rate Rises Slightly to 7.3 Percent

The Arkansas unemployment rate for May rose a tenth of a percentage point to 7.3 percent, according to data released Friday by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

The national jobless rate rose slightly as well in May, to 7.6 percent from 7.5. The state's civilian labor force increased by 2,400, adding 1,800 unemployed and 600 employed workers.

DWS Communications Director Kimberly Friedman said Arkansas' numbers are mirroring the national trend.

The state's May unemployment rate is the same as it was this time last year, while the national rate is down almost a full point. The U.S. unemployment rate in May 2012 was 8.2 percent.

In May, the biggest gains in Arkansas were in trade, transportation and utilities, which saw a gain of 1,900 jobs (with 1,200 of them in retail trade), and in construction with 1,400 new jobs. Both the increases in retail and construction are considered seasonal gains. Six major industry sectors saw losses; five saw gains.

The biggest May loss was seen in professional and business services at 2,000 jobs, most in professional services attributed to seasonal declines in tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services.

Year to year, the big winner was trade, transportation and utilities with a gain of 12,400 jobs. Construction lost 2,000 jobs attributed to project completions. Two industries saw gains over the past year, offset by declines in nine sectors.

View the full report here.