Arkansas' Unemployment Rate Remains Stable at 3.5 Percent

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) - Labor force data, released by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services shows Arkansas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained stable at 3.5 percent between August and September. 

Arkansas’ civilian labor force rose 1,435, a result of 938 more unemployed and an additional 497 employed Arkansans.  

The United States’ jobless rate declined two-tenths of a percentage point, from 4.4 percent in August to 4.2 percent in September. 
The labor force data was produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price said, “Arkansas’ unemployment rate remained stable at 3.5 percent in September.  While the number of employed Arkansans increased slightly from last month, there are 43,387 more employed than in September 2016.” 

Nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas rose to 15,500 in September to a total of 1,258,300.  Six major industries added jobs, while employment in four sectors declined.  The largest increase occurred in government (+12,400).  Expansions in local (+7,700) and state (+4,600) government reflect seasonal hiring at public schools and universities.  Jobs in educational and health services rose to 3,100.  

A majority of the gain was posted in educational services (+2,800), related to hiring at private facilities. Professional and business services added 2,900 jobs, largely in administrative and support services (+2,600).  

Jobs in manufacturing rose 1,300.  Gains occurred in both nondurable goods (+700) and durable goods (+600) manufacturing.  Leisure and hospitality posted the greatest declined (-4,000). Employment fell in all sub-sectors, due in part to seasonal factors.

Compared to September 2016, Arkansas’ nonfarm payroll employment is up 20,900.  Seven major industry sectors posted growth, with five adding 2,100 or more jobs, each.  Educational and health services increased 5,300.  Gains occurred in both health care and social assistance (+2,800) and educational services (+2,500).

Jobs in manufacturing rose 4,700, all in nondurable goods manufacturing (+5,000).  Professional and business services added 4,700 jobs.  Expansions were largely in administrative and support services (+4,700), a sub-sector which includes employment agencies.  Jobs in other services increased 2,300.  This sector includes activities such as automotive repair, dry cleaning services, and civic organizations.  Construction added 2,100 jobs, mostly in specialty trade construction (+1,800).   

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