Arkansas' Unemployment Rate Declines to 7.4 Percent

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Unemployment numbers are down in Arkansas according to the rate in December.

New figures out today show the state's jobless rate dropped to 7.4 percent last month, from 7.5 percent in November.

The labor force data, produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics was released today by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (DWS).

DWS officials say Arkansas’ civilian labor force rose 2,600, a result of 3,200 more employed and 600 fewer unemployed Arkansans.

“Arkansas’ unemployment rate declined in December, largely the result of a gain in employment and a corresponding increase in the size of the civilian labor force. This is the second month in a row that Arkansas’ employment has increased,” says DWS Communications Director Becky Heflin.

The United States’ jobless rate dropped three-tenths of a percentage point, from 7.0 percent in November to 6.7 percent in December.

Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Job Summary:

Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll jobs declined 4,200 in December to total 1,197,400. Five sectors reported job losses, while three sectors posted gains. Three major sectors were unchanged. Leisure and hospitality posted the largest decrease (-2,600). A majority of the loss occurred in food services (-2,000), a typical seasonal trend. Government employment dropped 1,300. Declines were posted in both state (-900) and local (-500) government due to the holiday break at public schools. Employment in professional and business services declined 1,300. Most of the loss was reported in administrative and support services (-1,000), which includes seasonal activities such as travel agencies and landscaping services. Trade, transportation, and utilities added 1,600 jobs, mostly due to holiday hiring in retail trade (+1,300).

Compared to December 2012, nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas have increased 12,900. Seven major industry sectors posted growth, as four sectors reported losses. Trade, transportation, and utilities enjoyed the largest increase (+4,900). Employment gains were attributed to reported growth in retail trade (+3,700) and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+2,400). Professional and business services added 4,200 jobs. Administrative and support services captured a majority of the growth (+2,900), attributed in large part to reported hiring in temporary employment services. Educational and health services increased 3,500. Most of the gains occurred in health care and social assistance (+2,700). Jobs in other services declined 2,400. The sector includes activities such as repair/maintenance and membership organizations.

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