Arkansas Unemployment Rate Spikes, First Time in 2014

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LITTLE ROCK, AR – The state’s unemployment rate is back up after several months of steady decline.

Labor force data, produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and released today by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (DWS), show Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point from 6.2 percent in July to 6.3 percent in August. Arkansas’ civilian labor force declined 2,100, a result of 2,800 fewer employed and 700 more unemployed Arkansans. The United States’ jobless rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.1 percent in August.

“The drop in employment triggered the rise in the unemployment rate in August. This is the first time that the state’s unemployment rate increased in 2014,” said DWS Communications Director Becky Heflin. 

Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Job Summary:
Nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas rose 2,600 in August to total 1,182,700. Three major industry sectors added jobs, more than offsetting minor declines in seven sectors. Employment in government increased 2,800. Gains in state (+1,500) and local (+1,400) government were related to the start of the 2014-2015 school year. Educational and health services added 1,300 jobs. A majority of the expansion occurred in health care and social assistance (+1,100). Employment in construction rose 1,300. Hiring was reported in construction of buildings and in heavy/civil engineering.

Since August 2013, Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll employment is up 15,400. Eight major industry sectors posted growth, with five sectors adding 2,300 or more jobs, each. Three sectors declined slightly. Jobs in construction increased 3,600, related in part to ongoing heavy and civil engineering projects. Leisure and hospitality added 3,200 jobs. Most of the gains were in food services (+2,900), largely reported in limited service restaurants. Employment in manufacturing rose 3,200. Growth in durable goods manufacturing (+3,300) offset minor losses in nondurable goods manufacturing. Educational and health services added 3,100 jobs. A majority of the increase was in health care and social assistance (+2,800). Jobs in professional and business services rose 2,300. Administrative and support services, which includes employment services, posted most of the growth (+2,700).

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