Unemployment in AR Holds Steady at 5.6 Percent


LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) – 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, show Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained stable at 5.6 percent in March (with February revising from 5.5 percent to 5.6 percent). 

Arkansas’ civilian labor force added 4,700, with 3,900 more employed and 800 additional unemployed Arkansans. At 5.5 percent, the United States’ jobless rate was unchanged between February and March.

ADWS Communications Director Becky Heflin said, “Though the unemployment rate remained stable, Arkansas’ civilian labor force has grown each month for the last eleven months. Since April 2014, there are 37,900 more Arkansans in the labor force.”

Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Job Summary:
Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll employment rose 4,000 in March to total 1,202,600. Eight major industry sectors added jobs, while two declined and one remained stable. Employment in leisure and hospitality increased 2,300. Gains were largely seasonal and spread throughout all subsectors. Trade, transportation, and utilities added 1,000 jobs. Hiring in both retail (+600) and wholesale (+600) trade was related in part to the start of the spring shopping season. Employment in government rose 1,000, due in part to seasonal winter activities in both state (+700) and local (+300) government. Construction declined 2,000, as many projects were temporarily shut down due to weather conditions.

Compared to March 2014, nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas have increased 22,100. Nine major industry sectors posted gains, while two sectors decreased slightly. Jobs in leisure and hospitality rose 7,200. A majority of the increase was in food services (+5,900), reported in both full and limited service restaurants. Trade, transportation, and utilities added 5,700 jobs. Growth occurred in all three subsectors. Employment in educational and health services rose 3,300, mostly in health care and social assistance (+2,900). Professional and business services increased 2,200. Gains were in management of companies (+1,600) and administrative and support services (+1,400).

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