LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The two-year long recession caused by COVID-19 had a more severe effect than its 2008 predecessor did on a lot of U.S. cities’ unemployment rates, Little Rock being one of them.

Statistics from a new report show the unemployment rate in the U.S. rose from 5% to 10% during the Great Recession but skyrocketed from 3.5% to 14.8% during the COVID-19 recession.  

The recent study shows the U.S. job market is making a quick recovery from this setback. Although monthly job gains are still not steady, the nation’s unemployment rate in October of 2021 was 2.3 percent lower than it was a year ago in 2020.

The study showed that the Little Rock metro area itself experienced a 2% employment gain in 2021 with unemployment rates dropping from 5.4% to 2.5% in one year. During the initial wake of COVID-19, the local labor force in Little Rock declined by almost 6,000 jobs, making Little Rock’s new employee numbers a big upswing.

October 2021’s statistics also bode well for the state of Arkansas. The state is steadily getting back on track, and data from the United States Department of Labor show that Arkansas’ unemployment rate continues to decrease, dropping three-tenths of a percentage point from 4% to 3.7% in just one month. According to the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, 374 fewer Arkansans were unemployed in October 2021.

In an October release, Gov. Asa Hutchinson noted that Arkansas’ economy continues to expand.

“We continue to be lower than the national unemployment rate, and it is even better news that more people are returning to the workforce,” Hutchinson said.