Arkansas Jobless Rate Drops to 3.6 Percent

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The unemployment rate in Arkansas continues to decline.

Labor force data, produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released today by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, show Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point, from 3.7 percent in February to 3.6 percent in March.

Arkansas’ civilian labor force gained 3,188, a result of 4,428 more employed and 1,240 fewer unemployed Arkansans. The United States’ jobless rate declined two-tenths of a percentage point, from 4.7 percent in February to 4.5 percent in March.

“The unemployment rate decline to 3.6 percent marks a new record low for Arkansas, breaking last month’s previous record low of 3.7 percent. Arkansas’ jobless rate has fallen each month since December, after remaining fairly stable throughout most of 2016,” said BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price.

Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Job Summary:
Nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas increased 7,500 in March to total 1,240,900. Seven major industry sectors posted gains, while two sectors declined and two were unchanged. Leisure and hospitality added 2,800 jobs, mostly in accommodation and food services (+2,300). Jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities rose 2,300. A majority of the expansion occurred in retail trade (+1,200), typical hiring for the spring shopping season. Employment in professional and business services increased 2,000. Most of the gains were in administrative and support services (+2,200). Educational and health services decreased 1,300. Losses were reported in health care and social assistance (-1,400), with reported declines at nursing care facilities, hospitals, and physicians’ offices.

Compared to March 2016, Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll employment is up 16,600. Growth was posted in seven major industry sectors, as four sectors declined. Employment in educational and health services rose 7,000, mostly in health care and social assistance (+4,900). Professional and business services added 5,800 jobs, with gains posted in all three subsectors. Jobs in manufacturing are up 2,600. Hiring in nondurable goods (+3,700) more than offset losses in durable goods (-1,100). Small increases were reported in trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,600), leisure and hospitality (+1,500), and other services (+1,300). Jobs in government fell 2,100.  Decreases occurred in local (-1,600) and state (-500) government.  

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