Arkansas Unemployment Drops to 6.9%

LITTLE ROCK - March unemployment in Arkansas dropped to 6.9 percent.

That's according to 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.

The numbers show the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point, from 7.1 percent in February.

Arkansas’ civilian labor force was unchanged, as the addition of 2,400 employed offset the loss of 2,400 unemployed Arkansans.

The United States’ jobless rate remained stable at 6.7 percent in March.

“Arkansas’ unemployment rate dropped below seven percent in March for the first time since January 2009. This is the sixth consecutive month that Arkansas’ jobless rate has declined,” said DWS Communications Director Becky Heflin.

Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Job Summary

Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll jobs rose 12,900 in March to total 1,189,600. All major industry sectors posted gains. Jobs in leisure and hospitality increased 3,200. Gains were related to typical seasonal hiring, with accommodation and food services adding 2,700 jobs. Employment in trade, transportation, and utilities rose 3,000. A majority of the growth was seen in retail trade (+1,600), as stores begin preparing for seasonal spring shopping. Construction added 1,900 jobs. Most of the hiring occurred in specialty trade contractors (+1,100), another expected seasonal increase. Jobs in government rose 1,200. A majority of the gains were in state government (+700), as educational facilities and tourism-related agencies reported expansions.

Since March 2013, nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas have increased 13,000. Eight major sectors added jobs, more than offsetting minor declines in three sectors. Leisure and hospitality posted the greatest gains (+4,400). Expansion occurred in all subsectors, with food services adding 3,500 jobs. Employment in educational and health services rose 2,900. Most of the growth was seen in health care and social assistance (+2,500). Jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities are up 2,200. Increases were posted in all three subsectors, with wholesale and retail trade both adding 900 jobs each. Construction added 1,600 jobs over the year. Jobs in professional and business services rose 1,100. A majority of the growth was posted in administrative and support services (+1,300).

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