Arkansas’ unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6% in May. The rate has now been below 4% for 35 consecutive months. The components of the unemployment rate moved in favorable directions in May, with the number of employed up by 2,543 and the number of unemployed down by 1,133. Over the past three months, household employment has risen by over 6,800 while unemployment has declined by more than 2,700.
Nonfarm payroll employment declined by 700 jobs in May (seasonally adjusted). Nationwide, payroll employment increased by a relatively small increment in May (+75,000) and today’s report on state-level employment notes that Washington was the only state to see significant job growth for the month, and that payroll employment was “essentially unchanged in 49 states and the District of Columbia.”
As shown in the table below, several sectors of the Arkansas economy showed job declines in May. Employment in goods-producing sectors was particularly disappointing with declines in both Construction and Manufacturing. Employment in retail trade outpaced the typical seasonal increase for May, while Leisure and Hospitality Services expanded by less than the usual seasonal gain (hence a decline in seasonally-adjusted employment). Professional and Business Services showed an increase of about 1,000 jobs, with most of the increase attributable to Administrative and Support Services.
Compared to a year earlier, total payroll employment is up by 12,500 jobs. About 40% of that job growth has come from Manufacturing and Construction. Other important sectors for year-over-year growth include Wholesale Trade and most of the other Service-providing sectors (particularly Leisure & Hospitality).
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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.