The Arkansas unemployment rate was 6.2% in July, down slightly from a revised 6.3% rate in June. Unemployment rates for Arkansas and the U.S. have once again converged — the national unemployment rate was also 6.2% in July.
Looking in more detail at the components of the unemployment rate, the number of unemployed was down in July for the 11th consecutive month (-626), but it was the smallest decline since last September. The number of employed continued the sharp downward trend that has prevailed since April. In July, the number of employed declined by 7,166, bringing the four month cumulative total to -21,632. With both the number of employed and unemployed falling, the labor force was down by nearly 8,000 in July, and has dropped by over 32,000 over the past four months.
The survey of employers showed an increase in Arkansas nonfarm payroll employment in July. Compared to the previous month, employment was up 2,200 (seasonally adjusted). [The not-seasonally adjusted data highlighted by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services showed a sharp decline, but all of those losses were attributable to the summer closure of public schools and universities.] As shown in the table below, several sectors showed small employment declines in July, but these were offset by gains in Retail Trade, Other services and Government.
The seasonally adjusted data show a year-over-year increase of 15,200 jobs, with gains in every sector except Information Services. However, most of those increases took place in the second part of 2013. Total nonfarm payroll employment has declined, on net, by 1,100 jobs since January of this year. Payroll employment remains 18,700 below the level that prevailed just before the onset of the 2008-09 recession.
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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.