Today’s employment reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Arkansas Department of Workforce Services included both good news and bad news. The bad news was another uptick in the unemployment rate, up to 7.8% from 7.7% in September. The household survey that underlies the unemployment report indicated an increase of over 2,000 newly unemployed in October.
The survey of employers, on the other hand, showed a sharp increase in employment in October, following very disappointing jobs numbers from the previous two months. After declining by 11,100 in August and 5,000 in September, October employment was up by 17,400 thousand jobs (seasonally adjusted). In percentage terms this was the largest increase among the 50 states (+1.5%).
The job gains were particularly notable in service providing sectors. Professional and Business Services were up by 5,900 jobs, Leisure and Hospitality was up by 4,800, and Educational and Health Services were up by 1,700. Since December of 2009, total employment in Arkansas has risen by nearly 19 thousand. This represents considerable progress toward recovering the 49 thousand jobs that were lost over the previous two years.
For the remainder of this year and through next year, employment growth should continue steadily, but somewhat slowly. The unemployment rate, which tends to be a lagging indicator, may climb a bit higher before declining in the second half of 2011.
# # #*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.