Arkansas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased two-tenths of a percentage point, from 4.2 percent in August to 4.0 percent in September, according to a report released October 22 by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services.

Labor force data is produced by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and released by the ADWS.

According to the report, Arkansas civilian labor force increased by 594, a result of 3,561 more employed and 2,967 fewer unemployed Arkansans. At 4.8 percent, the United States’ jobless rate dropped four-tenths of a percentage point between August and September.

BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price said, “Arkansas’ unemployment rate declined for the third month in a row to 4.0 percent in September, remaining below the national rate of 4.8 percent. Approximately 3,561 Arkansans became employed this month and 45,532 more are employed now compared to September 2020.”

The ADWS report stated that non-farm payroll jobs in Arkansas rose 17,300 in September to total 1,276,800. Gains were posted in seven major industry sectors. Jobs in government increased 12,000. Growth occurred in local government-educational services (+8,000) and state government-educational services (+4,600), as public schools and universities continued hiring for the new school year.

Trade, transportation, and utilities added 3,600 jobs. Expansions in retail trade (+2,400) and transportation ,warehousing and utilities (+1,700) more than offset a small decrease in wholesale trade (-500). Jobs in educational and health services rose 1,200, all in educational services (+2,500). Employment in manufacturing increased 1,000, mostly in durable goods (+900). Leisure and hospitality reported the largest decline, down 2,100 jobs. Contractions in arts-entertainment and recreation (-1,000) were attributed to typical seasonal losses.

Compared to September 2020, Arkansas’ non-farm payroll jobs have increased by 34,000. Nine major industry sectors posted growth, with five sectors adding 4,000 or more jobs each. Jobs in professional and business services rose 10,000, with gains reported in all subsectors. Jobs in manufacturing increased 7,400. Growth was reported in durable goods (+11,100), while jobs in non-durable goods declined 3,700.

Trade, transportation, and utilities added 6,400 jobs, with hiring posted in all subsectors. Leisure and hospitality gained 6,200 jobs. Most of the expansion occurred in accommodation and foods services (+4,100). Jobs in financial activities rose 4,000, largely in finance and insurance (+3,600). Government reported the largest annual decline, down 4,800 jobs. A majority of the loss was split between federal (-2,600) and local (-2,500) government.

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