The July report on state-level employment and unemployment reported some encouraging statistics on the Arkansas employment situation. Thanks to a sizable decline in the number of unemployed (-2,096) the unemployment rate edged down from 3.8% to 3.7%. Moreover, after nine consecutive months of decline, household employment rose in July (+452).
The national unemployment rate also ticked downward from 4.0% to 3.9% in July. Arkansas’ unemployment rate is effectively the same as the U.S. rate, with the tiny difference statistically insignificant.
The report on nonfarm payroll employment also contained some positive indicators for Arkansas, including the overall net increase of 2,600 jobs. Professional and Business Services continued to be the strongest source of growth in July (+1,600) but Manufacturing showed a substantial gain as well (+1,200). The increase in July Manufacturing employment was entirely attributable to Nondurable Goods, although the 4,000-job increase over the past 12 months included both Durable Goods (+1,300) and Nondurable goods (+2,700). Other than Professional and Business services, growth in the service-providing sectors was rather weak. Education and Health services was down for the month (-800) and year-over-year growth has slowed to near zero. Construction employment increased in July (+200) and is contributor to year-over-year employment growth as well (+1,800).
From July 2017 through July 2018, the increase of 10,600 jobs corresponds to a growth rate of 0.9%. Over the same period, job growth nationwide has been 1.6%.
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*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.