May Unemployment in Arkansas Rises to 7.3 Percent

LITTLE ROCK, AR – Hundreds more Arkansans were out of work in May, boosting the state’s unemployment rate to 7.3 percent.

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 increased one-tenth of a percentage point from 7.2 percent in April (revised upward from 7.1 percent).

Arkansas’ civilian labor force rose 2,400, a result of 1,800 more unemployed and 600 more employed Arkansans.

At 7.6 percent, the United States’ jobless rate also increased one-tenth of a percentage point in May.

“The unemployment rate in Arkansas rose one-tenth of a percentage point in May, mirroring the trend seen at the national level. Although the unemployment rate increased, employment rose 600 this month, marking the second month of employment gains,” says DWS Communications Director Kimberly Friedman.

Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Job Summary:

Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll jobs declined 2,000 in May to total 1,190,600. Employment decreased in six major industry sectors, offsetting gains in five sectors. Professional and business services posted the largest decrease (-2,000). A majority of the loss occurred in professional-scientific-technical services (-1,400), attributed to seasonal declines in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services. Jobs in educational and health services declined 1,700. Most of the loss occurred in health care and social assistance (-1,200). Employment in trade, transportation and utilities rose 1,900. Most of the gain occurred in retail trade (+1,200), a typical seasonal expansion. Construction also experienced a seasonal increase (+1,400).

Since May 2012, nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas rose 3,100. Two major industry sectors posted growth, more than offsetting declines in nine sectors. Employment in trade, transportation and utilities increased 12,400. Gains were reported in both retail trade (+9,700) and transportation, warehousing and utilities (+3,000). Educational and health services added 1,600 jobs, largely in ambulatory health care (+900). Jobs in other services declined 2,300. The sector includes activities such as repair and maintenance, personal and laundry services, and membership organizations. Construction decreased 2,000, related to project completions.

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