Arkansas Unemployment Drops to 9.5% in May

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Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 9.5% in May from 10.8% in April, the state Department of Workforce Services reported Friday.

The department revised April’s estimate up from the 10.2% it originally reported. The report said that in May Arkansas’ civilian labor force increased by 33,715.

More: See the full report here.

The U.S. jobless rate also declined, going from 14.7% in April to 13.3% percent in May.

“Due to the partial re-opening of the economy, the number of employed Arkansans rose 46,378 in May. The increase in employment and the decline in unemployment resulted in an unemployment rate drop of over one full percentage point,” BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price said in a news release. 

Compared to May 2019, nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas are down by 92,800. Ten major industry sectors posted job losses.

  • Jobs in leisure and hospitality fell 31,100, with the most contraction being in food services (-25,600).

  • Manufacturing declined by 18,500, mostly in durable goods manufacturing (-14,600) and especially in transportation equipment manufacturing and fabricated metal product manufacturing. 

  • Government lost 12,400 jobs, all in local (-7,700) and state (-5,200) government. It was also a mix of educational and non-educational jobs.

  • Employment in educational and health services dropped 9,200. A majority of the decline occurred in health care and social assistance (-7,400).

  • Professional and business services declined 6,600, mostly in administrative and support services (-7,300), which includes employment agencies.

  • Jobs in trade, transportation and utilities decreased 6,100, with losses in retail trade at 7,800, offsetting gains elsewhere.

  • The report said other sizable reductions occurred in other services (-6,200), financial activities (-1,600) and information (-1,000).

  • Mining and logging lost 800 jobs, while construction gained 700.