Arkansas unemployment rate still at 3.7 percent

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Unemployment numbers in Arkansas are holding steady.

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 remained stable at 3.7 percent between December 2018 and January 2019. The December 2018 rate was revised up from 3.6 percent to 3.7 percent. Arkansas’ civilian labor force increased 2,154, a result of 1,334 more employed and 820 additional unemployed Arkansans. 

“Employment in Arkansas is up 4,696 compared to January 2018. Additionally, the annual revision shows that there were more employed Arkansans in the second half of 2018 than originally estimated,” said BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price.

Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Job Summary:
Nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas declined 19,200 in January to total 1,254,100. Eight major industry sectors posted job losses, most of which were seasonal. The largest decrease occurred in tradetransportation-utilities (-5,400). A majority of the contraction was in retail trade (-3,800), marking the end of temporary holiday hiring. Government employment was down 4,600, related to public schools and universities closing for winter break. Jobs in leisure and hospitality declined 3,100. Most of the loss was reported in food services (-2,500), due in part to the temporary shutdown of food service contractors at colleges. Employment in educational and health services decreased 2,300, with losses in both in health care and social assistance (-1,500) and educational services (-800).

Compared to January 2018, Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll employment is up 11,300. Growth was reported in eight major industry sectors, while two sectors had minor declines. Manufacturing added 3,100 jobs, all in durable goods manufacturing (+3,700). Employment in trade, transportation, and utilities increased 2,000. Expansions in transportation-warehousing-utilities (+1,800) and wholesale trade (+1,600) were offset by losses in retail trade (-1,400). Jobs in leisure and hospitality rose 1,600, all in food services (+1,800). Construction added 1,400 jobs, mostly in specialty trade contractors (+1,100). Notable gains were also posted in financial activities (+1,300) and in other services (+1,100).

The United States’ jobless rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point, from 3.9 percent in December 2018 to 4.0 percent in January 2019.

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