Arkansas Employment Index Still in Recovery

Nonfarm payroll employment in Arkansas rose by 23,700 in June, an increase of 2%, while the national total rose by 3.6%.

From February — before the worst of the coronavirus pandemic’s effects began to be felt in the United States — through June, “the net decline in Arkansas payroll employment was 5.7%, while the U.S. total showed a decline of 9.6%,” economist Michael Pakko noted on his blog,, earlier this month.

The Arkansas unemployment rate dropped from a revised 9.6% in May to 8% in June, while the national jobless rate fell from 13.3% to 11.1%.

“Employment gains continued to be concentrated in the sectors that were most affected by pandemic-related shutdowns,” said Pakko, the chief economist and state economic forecaster at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Employment in the retail trade sector rose by 10,300 in May and June, almost completely offsetting the April decline, he said. The leisure and hospitality services sector added 8,500 jobs in June, but remains far below levels of a year ago.