County Jobless Rate Highlights Unemployment Improvement

County Jobless Rate Highlights Unemployment Improvement

The number of Arkansas counties with unemployment above 10 percent has fallen by nearly 60 percent in the last year, according to state labor data. Conversely, the number of counties with unemployment at 6 percent or lower has grown eight-fold.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The number of Arkansas counties with unemployment above 10 percent has fallen by nearly 60 percent in the last year, according to state labor data. Conversely, the number of counties with unemployment at 6 percent or lower has grown eight-fold.

Arkansas’ state unemployment rate began 2012 at 7.6 percent in January and slid to just 7.1 percent in December 2012. The seasonally adjusted state jobless rate never climbed higher than 7.6 percent during the year, but it dipped to 7.0 percent in November before ending the year at 7.1 percent.

An analysis of the highest and lowest unemployment rates showed that 27 Arkansas counties stood above 10 percent in January 2012 and just one county was at 6.0 percent. All other counties were above 6.0 percent.

Jan. 2012 Highest Unemployment Rates

Clay - 16.0%
Ashley - 14.4%
Crittenden - 13.2%
Lee - 13.0%
Drew - 12.9%
Chicot - 12.6%
Desha - 12.6%
Phillips - 12.5%
Woodruff - 12.4%
Bradley - 12.0%
Randolph - 11.7%
St. Francis - 11.7%
Clark - 11.6%
Dallas - 11.5%
Jackson - 11.5%
Sharp - 11.4%
Lincoln - 10.9%
Stone - 10.9%
Mississippi - 10.8%
Ouachita - 10.7%
Greene - 10.6%
Jefferson - 10.6%
Lawrence - 10.6%
Lafayette - 10.3%
Union - 10.2%
Van Buren - 10.1%
Monroe - 10.0%

Jan. 2012
Lowest Unemployment Rates

Washington - 6.0%

By year’s end, the number of high unemployment counties with a rate above 10 percent had fallen to just 11, a 59 percent decline. Eight counties saw their high unemployment rates fall to 6.0 percent or below.

Washington County, the only county that started the year at 6.0 percent unemployment, led the state by year’s end with the lowest local jobless rate of 4.4 percent.

Dec. 2012 Highest Unemployment Rates

Clay - 11.8%
Desha - 11.2%
Lee - 11.1%
Phillips - 11.0%
Crittenden - 10.9%
Woodruff - 10.9%
St. Francis - 10.6%
Chicot - 10.4%
Drew - 10.3%
Lafayette - 10.2%
Jackson - 10.0%

Dec. 2012 Lowest Unemployment Rates

Madison - 4.4%
Washington - 4.9%
Benton - 5.3%
Yell - 5.4%
Carroll - 5.6%
Lonoke - 5.8%
Saline - 5.8%
Scott - 5.8%

January 2013′s state jobless figures won’t be released until March 18, 2013. Updated county figures for January will be released on March 22, 2013.
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