Unemployment in AR Holds Steady at 3.7 Percent

Local News
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Unemployment numbers in Arkansas are holding steady at 3.7 percent between December 2017 and January 2018.

That’s according to labor force data, produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released Monday by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

The report shows that Arkansas’ civilian labor force declined 1,521, a result of 1,879 fewer employed and 358 more unemployed Arkansans. The United States’ jobless rate remained steady at 4.1 percent between December and January.

“While original estimation showed the number of employed Arkansans declined last year, revised 2017 estimates have been released and now indicate employment trended up throughout 2017. The unemployment rate has also been very consistent over the last year, remaining close to 3.7 percent,” said Susan Price, BLS Program Operations Manager.

Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Job Summary:
Nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas decreased 22,000 in January to total 1,222,900. Employment in nine major industry sectors declined. Trade, transportation, and utilities posted the greatest contraction (-6,600). Losses were spread throughout all three subsectors, related in large part to the end of temporary hiring for the holidays. Jobs in government fell 6,000. Decreases in state (-4,200) and local (-1,600) government were due to the winter break at public education facilities. Professional and business services declined 4,500. Most of the loss occurred in administrative and support services (-4,300), a subsector which includes employment agencies. Seasonal contractions were reported in construction (-1,900) and leisure and hospitality (-1,900).

Compared to January 2017, Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll employment is up 6,300. Seven major industry sectors posted growth, while four sectors declined. Jobs in educational and health services rose 3,000. The gains in health care and social assistance (+3,700) were offset by small losses in educational services (-700). Manufacturing added 2,400 jobs, mostly in nondurable goods manufacturing (+1,600). Employment in professional and business services increased 2,100. Most of the hiring occurred in administrative and support services (+3,000), while management of companies decreased 1,300. Trade, transportation, and utilities posted the greatest decline (-2,600). Employment in retail trade is down 2,300, due in large part to recent layoffs and closures within the sector.

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