Arkansas’ unemployment rate climbs to 3.5 percent

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – New numbers released Friday on Arkansas unemployment show an increase for the month of September.

The labor force data, produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, show Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point, from 3.4 percent in August to 3.5 percent in September.

Arkansas’ civilian labor force declined 319, a result of 552 fewer employed and 233 additional unemployed Arkansans.

The United States’ jobless rate declined to 3.5 percent in September, down from 3.7 percent in August.

“Although Arkansas’ unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point in September, the civilian labor force remained statistically stable. Compared to September 2018, Arkansas’ labor force has grown by 10,487,” said BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price.

Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Job Summary:
Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll jobs increased 16,600 in September to total 1,286,200. Four major industry sectors posted gains, more than offsetting declines in five sectors. Government added 13,000 jobs, mostly due to the return of teachers and staff at public schools and universities. Jobs in educational and health services rose 4,100. A majority of the expansion occurred in educational services (+2,800), related to staffing at private schools. Employment in professional and business services increased 2,200. All hiring was reported in administrative and support services (+2,400), a subsector which includes employment agencies. Construction added 1,200 jobs, as work continues on several major projects. Manufacturing posted the largest decline, down 1,400 jobs. Most of the losses were reported in durable goods (-1,200), related to reductions in fabricated metal product manufacturing and in machinery manufacturing.

Compared to September 2018, nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas are up 15,900. Growth occurred in seven major industry sectors, while three sectors posted minor declines. Employment in leisure and hospitality rose 4,700, mostly in food services (+4,500). Construction added 3,500, related to on-going projects. Jobs in educational and health services increased 2,900. A majority of the gains were in social assistance (+2,000), which includes activities such as day care services and vocational rehabilitation. Jobs in financial activities rose 2,500, largely in finance and insurance (+2,100). Notable expansions were also reported in government (+1,600), manufacturing (+1,300), and trade-transportation-utilities (+1,200).

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