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Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – May 2024

The state employment report for May was generally positive. Household employment increased and unemployment decreased. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.4% and nonfarm payroll employment was basically flat for the month.

From the household survey, the number of employed increased by 3,406 from April to May, representing the 7th consecutive monthly increase. Cumulatively since October 2023, employment has increased by nearly 11,000. The number of unemployed has continued to decline, falling by 608 in May. Large gains in household employment over the past two months have pushed the labor force higher by 5,525 (+2,800 in May alone).

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

At 3.4%, the Arkansas unemployment rate is down slightly from the beginning of the year, but remains 0.5% higher than a year earlier. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate has been edging higher, reaching 4.0% in May.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payroll employment was little changed from April. The not-seasonally adjusted data showed an increase of only 200. After seasonal adjustment, payrolls were down by 3,300. Employment in goods-producing industries was unchanged, with gains in Manufacturing offsetting job losses in Construction and Mining. Service-providing sectors accounted for the decline, with the largest losses in Education & Health Services and Wholesale Trade. Leisure and Hospitality Services, which increased by 1,600 in the not-seasonally adjusted data, was down slightly after accounting for typical seasonal patterns.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Over the past twelve months, Arkansas payroll employment has increased by 16,200—or approximately 1.2%. Over the same period, U.S. payroll employment has increased by 1.8%.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

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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.