LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Labor force data, produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and released by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, show Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment fell to 3.1% in December 2021 from 3.4% in November 2021.

According to a news release from the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, the state’s civilian labor force fell by 1,098, a result of 3,750 fewer unemployed and 2,652 additional employed Arkansans.

The United States’ jobless rate declined to 3.9% in December, down from 4.2% in November.

“The unemployment rate in Arkansas dropped to 3.1% in December, a new record low rate for the State,” BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price said. “While employment has increased for a second month, there are slightly fewer employed Arkansans compared to December 2020. Unemployment is down over the year, as the number of Arkansans actively looking for work has declined for the last six months.”

Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll jobs decreased by 1,500 in December to 1,291,100. Six major industry sectors posted declines, more than offsetting gains in four major sectors.

The release says educational and health services reported the greatest loss, down 2,200 jobs. All decreases were in health care and social assistance with reported contractions in activities such as childcare services, individual and family services, and offices of specialty health practitioners.

The largest increase occurred in trade, transportation, and utilities, an increase of 2,000. Most of the gains were related to holiday hiring in retail trade and wholesale trade, according to the release.

Compared to December 2020, nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas are up 27,300. Growth was reported in eight major industry sectors, with five sectors adding 4,300 or more jobs each. Jobs in professional and business services rose 9,600. Most of the gains occurred in administrative and support services.