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Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – June 2011

According to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (DWS), the unemployment rate in Arkansas rose by 0.3 percentage points in June, from 7.8% to 8.1%.  The Arkansas unemployment rate is now higher than it has been at any time during the recession and recovery.  The household survey reported an increase in the number of unemployed by over 2,500 and a decline in the number of employed by approximately 11,000.  At 109,000, the number of unemployed in Arkansas is now at a new all-time high.  As shown in the chart below, recent increases in the Arkansas unemployment rate have been following the national trend, although the rate is still more than one percentage point lower in Arkansas than the national average. 

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The news from this morning’s report was not all bad,  however.  This is one of those occasions when the independent payroll survey provides a different picture than the household survey.  According to the payroll report, employment was up by 2,100 in June (seasonally adjusted), with the May number revised upward slightly as well.  Since the trough of February 2010, nonfarm payroll employment in Arkansas has increased by 27,600.  That increase represents approximately 47% of the jobs lost from the start of the recession until February 2010.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

As shown in the table below, employment gains were concentrated in the service-providing sectors, particularly Education & Health Services and Professional & Business Services.  The crucial sectors of Manufacturing and Trade, Transportation & Utilities showed rather substantial losses for the month.  Employment in the construction sector showed a welcome increase.  Nevertheless, employment in both Construction and Manufacturing are down for the first six months of the year.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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*Seasonally adjusted data for nonfarm payroll employment, reported in a format compatible with the monthly press release from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, are available hereTable – Seasonally Adjusted NFPE

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