Arkansas Unemployment Decreases to 5.6 Percent in July

Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point, from 5.7 percent in June to 5.6 percent in July, according to labor force data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The statistics, released Friday by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, indicate that Arkansas’ civilian labor force declined 300, a result of 1,300 fewer unemployed and 1,000 more employed Arkansans. The United States’ jobless rate remained stable at 5.3 percent in July.

“Arkansas’ civilian labor force declined slightly in July, with the drop in the number of unemployed more than offsetting a small gain in employment,” ADWS Program Operations Manager Susan Price said in a news release. “There are still 40,300 more Arkansans in the labor force than in July 2014.”

Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll jobs decreased by 14,400 in July, to 1,201,700. Seven major industry sectors declined, while three posted gains.

Jobs in government fell 12,300, with both local (-10,900) and state (-1,600) government affected by summer break at public schools. Leisure and hospitality dropped 2,100, but much of the loss was in food services (-1,700), related in part to the temporary summer closure of educational facilities, according to the news release.

Construction added 1,500 jobs and jobs in professional and business services rose 1,300. Gains in administrative and support services (+1,600) included some seasonal activities such as landscaping and travel arrangement.

Compared to July 2014, nonfarm payroll employment in Arkansas rose 29,200. Six major industry sectors experienced growth, with minor declines reported in four sectors. Professional and business services added 9,700 jobs. Most of the increase was in administrative and support services (+7,900), due in large part to reported gains in employment services.

Employment in educational and health services rose 6,000 and health care and social assistance posted a majority of the growth (+4,900). Construction added 5,900 jobs, mostly in specialty trade contractors (+4,100). Jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities increased 3,800.