Officials with the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services report a slight increase in the state’s unemployment rate. Department spokeswoman Kimberly Friedman says unemployment in Arkansas was up by one tenth of a percentage point from 7.1 percent in December to 7.2 percent in January.
“We did see a decrease in the total labor force, specifically a decrease in the number of employed Arkansans, and that did contribute largely to Arkansas’s rate increasing in January,” Friedman said. “The rate increase was not unexpected and it does mirror the trend seen at the national level.”
Stats from the agency show the state’s civilian labor force decreased by 3,300 in January. Friedman says Arkansas’s current unemployment rate is lower than it was in January 2012 when the state’s rate was 7.4 percent. She says workforce officials are not alarmed by the minor increase and will continue to watch figures from month to month. The national unemployment rate increased to 7.9 percent in January.
All eleven major industries in Arkansas reported job losses in January. Government jobs had the largest drop, at 6,100. State officials attribute most of that decrease to Winter Holiday break for public schools.
Trade, transportation and utilities jobs decreased by 5,800 with most of the drop coming in retail trade linked to the end of the holiday shopping season.
Construction jobs dropped by 2,700 and professional and business services jobs decreased by 1,900.