Arkansas’ jobless rate fell three-tenths of a percent in November to 5.8%. In October, the rate stood at 6.1% and one year ago Arkansas’ unemployment benchmark was at 7.5%. The U.S. jobless rate remained unchanged in November at 5.8%, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock economist Michael Pakko said the report continued an unambiguously encouraging trend.
"Really it doesn't get much better than this. The number of people employed was up by over 10,000. That was by far the largest increase on record for the state of Arkansas and the second highest increase was last month. Over the past three months we've seen household employment increase by over 20,000 people and over that same period the number of unemployed has declined by about 5,000 so this three month trend that's now taking shape looks very positive," said Pakko.
There was a large jump in both the civilian labor force and employment population during the month. In November, the total number of working Arkansans was 1,238,700, up 10,300 from October 2014 and 11,900 from November 2013.
In November, the overall civilian labor force – or available working population – was 1,315,600. That was up 8,100 from October, but down 10,700 from a year ago.
"Arkansas’ unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percentage point in November, due in large part to the increase in employment. This month’s addition of 10,300 employed is the largest employment gain of 2014," said DWS Communications Director Becky Heflin said.
In the monthly survey of employers, Arkansas 8 major industry sectors posted gains, while 3 sectors showed declines.
Pakko highlighted growth in two sectors that have lagged behind in recent years.
"Two of the strongest areas were in construction and manufacturing. Those are important sectors to the Arkansas economy and also two sectors that have been really slow to recover from the recession over five years ago so it's really good news to see those areas start to improve," said Pakko.
The November 2014 sector breakdowns on a year-over-year basis are as follows:
- Mining/Logging +400
- Construction +4,000
- Manufacturing +5,400
- Trade/Transportation +1,700
- Information -600
- Financial +400
- Professional/Business -100
- Education/Health +3,600
- Leisure/Hospitality +3,500
- Other +400
- Government -300