The latest state-level employment report shows the Arkansas unemployment rate ticking up 0.1 percentage point to 3.6% in November. As is often the case, the reported change was as much rounding error as an actual change (calculated with more accuracy, the unemployment rate was up 0.05%). Moreover the change was nowhere close to being statistically significant.
The underlying data from the household survey show that the upward pressure on the unemployment rate over the past three months is the result of increases in the estimated number of unemployed, up 1,690 since August. In November, the number of unemployed rose by 764. The number of employed increased in November as well (+1,439), resulting in a sizable uptick in the labor force total (+2,203).
The payroll survey showed that nonfarm payroll employment in Arkansas increased by 1,000 jobs in November (seasonally adjusted). Employment in goods-producing industries was down for the month, but both Construction and Manufacturing employment remain well above their levels of a year ago.
Two service-providing supersectors each added 1,000 jobs or more to the total: Professional & Business Services (almost entirely due to an increase in Administrative & Support Services) and Education & Health Services (mostly due to an increase in Health Care & Social Assistance). Other service-providing sectors subtracted 700 jobs from the total monthly change.
Over the past 12 months, payroll employment is up by 15,900, approximately 1.3%. Over the same period, U.S. payroll employment rose 1.5%.
The data from the household and payroll surveys are indicating similar growth trends for total employment. From November 2018 through November 2019, the household measure of employment has risen by approximately 14,000, or 1.1%.
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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 Department of Workforce Services, can be found here: Table-Seasonally Adjusted NFPE.