The state employment report for June showed continued recovery from the sharp job losses registered in April during the peak of pandemic-related economic shutdowns. The Arkansas unemployment rate dropped from a revised 9.6% in May to 8.0% in June. The national unemployment rate declined from 13.3% to 11.1%. The household survey indicated a decline in the number of unemployed Arkansans of nearly 24,000 to 105,338. The number of employed declined as well (down 9,300), resulting in a sharp downturn in the measured labor force. The Arkansas labor force participation rate has dropped 2.4 percentage points from 58.2% in January and February to 55.8% in June. The U.S. labor force participation rate declined 1.9 percentage points (from 63.4% to 61.5%) over the same period.
Arkansas nonfarm payroll employment rose by 23,700 in June, an increase of 2.0%. The June increase was proportionately not quite as large as the national total, which showed an increase of 3.6%. From February through June, the net decline in Arkansas payroll employment was 5.7%, while the U.S. total showed a decline of 9.6%.
Employment gains continued to be concentrated in the sectors that were most effected by pandemic-related shutdowns. Employment in Retail Trade increased by 10,300 in May and June, almost completely offsetting the April decline. Leisure and Hospitality Services added 8,500 jobs in June, but remains far below levels of a year ago. Significant gains were also registered in June for Professional and Business Services (particularly in Administrative and Support Services) and in Other Services.
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Seasonally adjusted data for Arkansas nonfarm payroll employment, reported in a format consistent with the monthly news release from the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, can be found here: Table-Seasonally Adjusted NFPE.