The unemployment rate in Arkansas dropped 2-tenths of 1 percent in March, falling to 6.9%. Today’s reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Workforce Services represented the seventh consecutive month in which the number of the state’s unemployed declined and the number employed increased. Since August of last year, the number of unemployed has fallen by over 10,000 and the number of employed has increased by 16,000. With the unemployment rate below 7% for the first time since January 2009, the unemployment rate is now only 2-tenths of a percent higher than the nationwide average.
February payroll employment totals were revised downward by 2,200, but the March figures were up 1,200 from the revised level. Since August 2013, payroll employment has increased by 17,000. As shown in the table below, employment increased in every non-government service sector in March. In the not-seasonally adjusted data reported by the Department of Workforce services, construction and manufacturing were also up for the month, but those gains were attributable to typical spring rebound effects.
Compared to a year ago, payroll employment is up 12,900, with increases in nearly every sector. Total employment remains 17,800 below pre-recession levels.
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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.