Arkansas unemployment rate rises to 3.6 percent

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Unemployment in Arkansas has increased to 3.6 percent.

That’s according to labor force data, produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released today by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services.

The figures show Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point, from 3.5 percent in October to 3.6 percent in November. Arkansas’ civilian labor force rose 2,203, a result of 1,439 more employed and 764 more unemployed Arkansans.

The United States’ jobless rate declined to 3.5 percent in November, down from 3.6 percent in October.

“The number of employed and unemployed Arkansans increased for the second month in a row, adding to the size of the civilian labor force. While these gains were small, it was enough to push the unemployment rate up one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.6 percent,” said BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price.

Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Job Summary:
Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll jobs increased 500 in November to total 1,292,300. Four major industry sectors added jobs, more than offsetting losses in six sectors. Jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities rose 4,000. Most of the gains were posted in retail trade (+2,100), due to temporary hiring for the holiday shopping season. Employment in leisure and hospitality declined 3,100. A majority of the loss was posted in food services (-1,700), a result of reported reductions at both full service and limited service restaurants. The contractions in arts, entertainment, and recreation (-1,000) are typical for this time of year. Construction jobs decreased 1,100, a result of both seasonal factors and the completion of certain projects.

Compared to November 2018, nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas are up 15,600. Seven major industry sectors posted growth, with four adding 2,400 or more jobs, each. The largest increase was in educational and health services, up 3,500. Most of the expansion occurred in health care and social assistance (+3,300). Employment in construction rose 3,300, related in part to ongoing large projects. Professional and business services added 3,000 jobs. Gains were reported in management of companies (+1,700) and administrative-support services (+1,700). Jobs in manufacturing increased 2,400, largely in nondurable goods manufacturing (+2,300). Other notable expansions include leisure and hospitality (+1,800), trade-transportation-utilities (+1,500), and financial activities (+1,400).

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