February Unemployment Drops to 5.5 Percent in Arkansas

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LITTLE ROCK, AR – The unemployment rate in Arkansas is still falling.

Figures out today for February show a decline of one-tenth of a percentage point from January to 5.5 percent.

That’s according to 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 (ADWS). The numbers also show Arkansas’ civilian labor force gained 4,900, a result of 5,800 more employed and 900 fewer unemployed Arkansans. 

At 5.5 percent, the United States’ jobless rate decreased two-tenths of a percentage point between January and February.

“Arkansas added 5,800 employed this month, a gain of 42,900 since February 2014. Employment has steadily increased each month since December 2013,” said ADWS Communications Director Becky Heflin.

Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Job Summary:
Nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas increased 10,100 in February to total 1,200,000. Seven major industry sectors posted employment gains, more than offsetting losses in three sectors. Jobs in government rose 5,200, as public schools re-opened after the winter break. Leisure and hospitality added 3,500. A majority of the increase occurred in accommodation and food services (+3,200). Professional and business services gained 2,900 jobs. Administrative and support services, which includes employment agencies, posted most of the growth (+2,300). Jobs in manufacturing declined 2,100. Most of the decrease was in nondurable goods manufacturing (-1,300), with reported losses in food manufacturing.

Compared to February 2014, Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll employment increased 28,700. Eight major industry sectors posted growth, with five adding 3,300 or more jobs, each. Employment in leisure and hospitality rose 8,400. A majority of the gains were reported in food services (+7,000). Jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities increased 7,200. Growth occurred in all subsectors. Professional and business services added 4,200 jobs. Most of the expansion occurred in administrative and support services (+2,500), which includes employment services, office administrative services, and services to building and dwellings. Jobs in construction rose 3,800, mostly in specialty trade contractors (+3,100). Educational and health services added 3,300 jobs. The largest increase occurred in health care and social assistance (+2,800).

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