State Jobless Rate Down to 3.2% in January After December Rate Revised

Arkansas' unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point from December to 3.2% in January, as December’s rate was revised to 3.3% from the previously announced historic low of 3.1%, according to a report released Monday by the state Division of Workforce Services.

Monday’s report showed Arkansas' civilian labor force increased by 4,142, the result of 5,126 more employed and 984 fewer unemployed Arkansans. The U.S. jobless rate was 4% in January, up one-tenth of a percentage point from December.

The department said civilian labor force estimates are undergoing an annual processing to incorporate more complete and accurate information into the estimation process.

All data for the state, counties, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), micropolitan statistical areas, local workforce development areas and cities has been or is being revised. 

Statewide data was revised back to January 2017. Additional estimates are set to be released on April 15 and will be revised back to January 2010, as updated Census Bureau data is incorporated. Statewide and MSA nonfarm payroll jobs data have been revised as well, back to January 2015.

Susan Price, Arkansas’ BLS program operations manager, said in a news release that seasonally adjusted employment was overestimated throughout 2021, while unemployment was slightly overestimated  from May to November 2021. 

Based on the updated estimates, the state’s unemployment rate was 4.9% in January 2021 and slowly dropped throughout the year to reach the low of 3.3% in December, which was slightly higher than originally estimated, she said. 

In addition, compared to January 2021, Arkansas' nonfarm payroll jobs are up by 37,700. Eight major industry sectors reported growth, while two sectors lost jobs and another saw no change:

  • Professional and business services jobs increased by 6,600
  • Trade, transportation and utilities added 13,300 jobs
  • Manufacturing jobs increased by 5,300; there were gains in both durable goods (3,200) and nondurable goods (2,100)
  • Leisure and hospitality added 9,000 jobs, mostly in food services (6,100)
  • Financial activities added 1,100 jobs
  • Construction gained 100 jobs
  • Government jobs increased by 2,400
  • Other services lost 300 jobs
  • Information jobs increased by 1,000
  • Mining and logging neither gained nor lost jobs
  • Educational and health services lost 800 jobs

 National Picture

Compared to December, unemployment rates were significantly lower in January in 19 states, higher by two-tenths of a percentage point in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., and stable in 29 states (including Arkansas), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Monday. 

Historic lows were seen in not only Arkansas but in nine other states. Arkansas tied with Georgia in having the seventh lowest unemployment rate in the country.

Eighteen states (including Arkansas) had unemployment rates significantly lower than the national rate of 4%. Fourteen states and Washington, D.C. had higher rates, while 18 states had rates that were not significantly different. 

Forty-nine states (including Arkansas) and Washington, D.C., had significant jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, while Maine’s unemployment rate was not significantly different compared to January 2021.

The national unemployment rate was down 2.4 percentage points from January 2021.

In nonfarm payroll employment, nine states saw increases from December to January, while changes in 41 states (including Arkansas) and in Washington, D.C. weren’t statistically significant.

Compared to January 2021, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 46 states (including Arkansas) and the District of Columbia. It was essentially unchanged in four states, the federal agency reported.