The latest state employment report shows another month of solid growth. The unemployment rate dropped to a new all-time record of 2.6%—a new record low for the series (again). The national unemployment rate also declined in June, leaving Arkansas’ unemployment rate a full percentage point lower than the U.S. average.
The unemployment rate is primarily being driven downward by historic low figures for the number of unemployed. After nine months of consecutive declines, the number of unemployed Arkansans dropped to less than 36,000 in June. Prior to the Covid contraction, that measure had never before fallen below 46,000. Meanwhile, household employment continues to climb: after nine consecutive months of growth, employment has increased by over 21,000 (1.6%). As a result, labor force participation also continues to climb.
Data from the payroll survey also showed ongoing strong employment growth. Nonfarm payroll employment expanded by 1,900 in June (seasonally adjusted data). Compared to a year earlier, payroll employment was up by 36,700 jobs (2.8%).
The increase from May to June included an increase in employment in Education & Health Services of 3,500 jobs, with most of the gains coming from Health Care and Social Assistance. At the other end of the spectrum, employment in Professional and Business Services was down by 2,600 jobs, with declines in each of the subcomponents of that super-sector. Changes in other service-providing sectors were mixed. In goods-producing sectors, we saw gains in Construction and Durable-goods manufacturing.
Compared to June 2022, payroll employment is up 36,700, with Education & Health Services and Leisure & Hospitality Services accounting for most of that growth. Those were two of the sectors hardest-hit with employment losses during the Covid contraction.
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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.