Arkansas records job growth for the eighth consecutive month
The Center Square) - Arkansas saw its eighth straight month of employment gains in May, as its unemployment rate dropped slightly.
The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services reported the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 2.8% in April to 2.7% in May. That’s the lowest Arkansas’ unemployment rate has ever been, according to Zoe Calkins, the communications director for DWS.
Unemployment dropped to a “record low” of 37,095 in May. That’s 16,675 more people employed in Arkansas than the same month last year. Meanwhile, Arkansas’ labor force participation rate is still lower than May 2022’s rate of 57.7%. There are an estimated 1,380,752 people in the state’s labor force, with 1,343,657 currently employed individuals.
Arkansas’ employment gains came the same month the U.S. jobless rate went up to 3.7% in May. The national jobless rate in April was 3.4%, according to DWS. Nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas increased to a new record high last month. The leisure and hospitality sector saw the most significant growth, adding 3,100 jobs. Construction grew by over 1,300 jobs, private education and health services also increased by over 1,300, and the manufacturing sector saw over 1,200 jobs added. More than 1,100 jobs were also added under other services, DWS reported.
Over the year, growth shows a similar trend with jobs in leisure and hospitality growing the most by over 11,000 in Arkansas and private education and health services adding over 6,100 jobs.
A recent report ranked Arkansas’ economy 41st in the nation based on metrics measuring economic activity, economic health, and innovation potential. It ranked 31st for economic activity, 28th for economic health, and 47th for its innovation potential, according to the personal finance website WalletHub.
Arkansas is among the five states with the fewest exports and has the lowest percentage of jobs in high-tech industries, according to the report.