The latest information on Arkansas employment and unemployment was released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services this morning. The reports show that the unemployment rate dropped from 7.8% to 7.7% in May (seasonally adjusted). This is the first decline since March 2008. More significantly, the number of unemployed persons fell for the second consecutive month. Over the months of April and May, the number of unemployed has fallen by over 2000.
Nonfarm payroll employment report also contained positive news: the number of jobs was up by 2800 in May (seasonally adjusted)*.
Gains were particularly notable in some of Arkansas largest sectors: Manufacturing employment was up by 900; Trade, Transportation and Utilities was up by 2100; and Education and Health Services was up by 900.
Government employment was also up sharply +4200 jobs. Mirroring the pattern seen in the national data for May, many of these jobs were related to temporary hiring by the Census Bureau. Federal Government employment in Arkansas was up by 4600 in May.
Since December of 2009, employment is up by 6300 jobs (including 6000 in manufacturing). 4000 of those jobs are government-related, with an increase in private-sector employment of 2300.
# # #*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 here: Table – Seasonally Adjusted NFPE.