Data on employment and unemployment were released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Arkansas Department of Workforce Services. The headline news is that the unemployment rate increased by yet another 0.1 percent to 7.9 percent. The number of unemployed workers rose by 1,678 and the number of employed increased by 4,671. Hence the labor force expanded by 6,309. The labor force has been expanding quite rapidly since September, suggesting that unemployed workers who had previously been dropped from the statistics as “discouraged workers” are now returning to the labor market. This tends to result in higher measured unemployment rates, even as employment is expanding.
After a substantial increase in October, the report for November shows that nonfarm payroll employment continued to rise, albeit at a slower pace. Revised figures for October show an increase of 14,100 jobs rather than 17,400 as originally reported. On net, total payroll employment rose by another 100 jobs from October to November.
Seasonally adjusted increases were reported for Manufacturing; Trade, Transportation and Utilities; and Education and Health Services. Together, these three super-sectors account for nearly half of the state’s total employment. Seeing job growth in these sectors is particularly encouraging. Gains were also recorded in Mining and Logging; Information Services; Other Services; and Government. Over the past 12 months, approximately 11,000 jobs have been added to the Arkansas economy.
# # #*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.