The Arkansas unemployment rate decreased two-tenths of a percent in August, mirroring the decline that had previously been reported on the national level. At 5.4%, the state’s unemployment rate is nearing pre-recession levels. The August unemployment drop was attributable to both an increase in the number of employed (+3,910) and a decline in the number of unemployed (-2,490).
The data on nonfarm payrolls showed a monthly increase of 1,700 jobs (seasonally adjusted). Compared to the previous month, employment was down in the goods producing sectors and retail trade. Employment was up in most service-providing sectors, with Education and Health Services, in particular, continuing to expand.
Compared to a year earlier, payroll employment in Arkansas is up 26,800. Job gains over the past 12 months have been fairly broad-based, with the notable exception of Manufacturing. In fact, Manufacturing employment is still 6,000 jobs lower than at the employment trough of February 2010, and down 35,400 since the onset of the 2008-09 recession. Overall employment is now 7,200 (0.6%) above pre-recession levels.
# # #
*Seasonally adjusted data for Arkansas nonfarm payroll employment, reported in a format compatible with the monthly news release from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, can be found here: Table-Seasonally Adjusted NFPE.