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State Jobless Rate Holds at 3.4% in May

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The state’s unemployment rate held at 3.4% in May as the civilian labor force and the number of employed both remained at record highs, the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services reported Tuesday.

The U.S. jobless rate in May increased one-tenth of a percentage point to 4%.

In Arkansas, the civilian labor force increased by 2,798 in May, with 3,406 more residents employed than in the previous month. The state’s labor force participation remained at 57.5%.

Compared to a year ago, there were 8,502 more people employed in the state and 6,795 more who were unemployed. Arkansas’ unemployment rate is up five-tenths of a percentage point compared to a year ago, and the labor force participation rate is the same.

Nonfarm payroll jobs rose in May by 200 to 1.376 million, a record high. Seasonal gains in leisure and hospitality (+1,600) were offset by declines in trade, transportation and utilities (-1,000). Financial activities (+600) and manufacturing (+200) both added jobs.

Compared to the same month a year ago, nonfarm payroll jobs were up by 18,600. The largest growth occurred in private education and health services (+6,700), construction (+4,200), government (+2,700), and leisure and hospitality (+2,600). Jobs in manufacturing declined 1,500, mostly in durable goods (-1,300).

Other sectors and their changes from May 2023:

  • Professional and business services increased by 900
  • Financial activities increased by 700
  • Other services increased by 500
  • Mining and logging was flat
  • Information decreased by 400
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