Arkansas unemployment drops to 3.4 percent


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Unemployment in the Natural State has dropped to 3.4 percent.

The numbers for the month of July were released on Friday.

Arkansas Civilian Labor Force Summary:
Labor force data, produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and released today by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, show Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined one-tenth of a percentage point, from 3.5 percent in June to 3.4 percent in July. Arkansas’ civilian labor force rose 410, a result of 802 more employed and 392 fewer unemployed Arkansans. The United States’ jobless rate remained stable at 3.7 percent between June and July.

BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price said, “Dropping another one-tenth of percentage point in July, Arkansas’ jobless rate decreased for the third consecutive month. The unemployment rate of 3.4 percent is a new record low, breaking the record low of 3.5 percent set last month.”

Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Job Summary:
Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll jobs dropped 13,900 to total 1,265,100. Employment declined in seven major industry sectors. The greatest loss was in government (-11,200), attributed to summer break at public schools and universities. Jobs in manufacturing decreased 1,500. All reductions were in durable goods manufacturing (-1,500), related to several recent layoffs and closures. Educational and health services declined 1,400, due to seasonal hiring trends in both subsectors. Financial activities posted the largest increase, adding 1,000 jobs. Gains were reported in both finance and insurance (+700) and in real estate-rental-leasing (+300).

Compared to July 2018, nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas are up 19,200. Nine major industry sectors posted gains, with five adding 2,000 or more jobs, each. Employment in leisure and hospitality rose 7,000. Most of the expansion was in food services (+6,900). Construction increased 2,800, related to ongoing large projects. Trade-transportation-utilities added 2,400 jobs, with hiring in both wholesale (+1,400) and retail (+1,200) trade. Jobs in financial activities rose 2,100. The sector includes businesses such as banks, insurance carriers, and real estate agencies. Employment in manufacturing increased 2,000. Most of the gains occurred in nondurable goods manufacturing (+1,200).

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