Arkansas’s unemployment rate declines to 9.5% in May

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News Release)- Arkansas’s unemployment rate declined to 9.5% in May, according to labor force data released Friday by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services.

That’s a decline of one and three-tenths of a percentage point from 10.8 percent in April (revised up from the preliminary April estimate of 10.2%).

Arkansas’s civilian labor force increased 33,715, a result of 46,378 more employed and 12,663 fewer
unemployed Arkansans.

The United States’ jobless rate decreased from 14.7% in April to 13.3% in May.

BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price said, “Due to the partial re-opening of the economy, the number of employed Arkansans rose 46,378 in May. The increase in employment and the decline in unemployment resulted in an unemployment rate drop of over one full percentage point.”

Details of the BLS methodology and the impact of COVID-19 on the April and May estimation process can be found here.

Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Job Summary:

Nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas rose 25,900 in May to total 1,191,200. Eight major industry sectors posted job gains, while two sectors declined. Leisure and hospitality added 13,400 jobs, related to the partial re-opening of restaurants and recreation centers. Jobs in educational and health services increased 9,100. All expansions were in health care and social assistance (+9,200), as non-essential medical offices began to open. Trade, transportation, and utilities gained 4,300 jobs, largely in retail trade (+4,600). The greatest loss was in government, down 4,400 jobs. Most of the decline was related to educational services in state and local government, due to the official end of the 2019-2020 school year.

Compared to May 2019, Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll jobs are down 92,800. Ten major industry sectors posted losses, mostly attributed to the COVID-19 response and the related impact on businesses. Jobs in leisure and hospitality fell 31,100. Losses were posted in all subsectors, with food services reporting a majority of the contractions (-25,600). Employment in manufacturing dropped 18,500. Durable goods reported most of the decrease (-14,600), particularly in transportation equipment manufacturing and fabricated metal product manufacturing. Government jobs declined
12,400. All losses were in local (-7,700) and state (-5,200) government, mixed between educational and non-educational jobs. Employment in educational and health services is down 9,200. Health care and social assistance posted most of the decrease (-7,400). Professional and business services declined 6,600. Most of the contractions were in administrative and support services (-7,300), the subsector which includes employment agencies. Jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities dropped 6,100, with losses in retail trade (-7,800) more than offsetting gains in other subsectors.

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