Workforce

Arkansas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped one full percentage point, from 7.2 percent in September (revised down from 7.3 percent) to 6.2 percent in October, according to a report released November 20 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 declined 12,370, a result of 14,117 fewer unemployed and 1,747 more employed Arkansans. At 6.9 percent, the United States’ jobless rate also declined one full percentage point between September and October.

BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price said, “Arkansas’ unemployment rate declined sharply in October to 6.2 percent. This was spurred by the decline in the number of unemployed Arkansans.”

Arkansas’ non-farm payroll jobs increased 11,500 in October to total 1,243,900.

Eight major industry sectors posted gains. Professional and business services added 4,000 jobs. Most of the expansion was in administrative and support services (+3,000), a subsector that includes employment agencies. Jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities rose 3,800. A majority of the hiring occurred in retail trade (+3,900), as businesses prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Employment in manufacturing increased 1,000. Gains in durable goods (+1,400) more than offset the losses in non-durable goods (-400) manufacturing.

Construction added 1,000 jobs, attributed in part to new and on-going large projects around the state.

Compared to October 2019, non-farm payroll jobs in Arkansas are down 42,600. Losses were reported in eight major industry sectors. Jobs in manufacturing dropped 16,200.

Reductions were seen in both durable goods (-10,400) and non-durable goods (-5,800) manufacturing. Employment in leisure and hospitality declined 15,400. Losses occurred in all subsectors, with food services posting most of the decrease (-11,700). Jobs in government are down 8,600, all in local (-8,100) and state (-1,900) government. Educational and health services declined 7,700. All losses were in health care and social assistance (-7,700). Other notable contractions occurred in other services (-3,900) and financial activities (-1,900). Trade, transportation, and utilities posted the largest increase, adding 9,500 jobs. Most of the growth was in retail trade (+5,600) and transportation-warehousing-utilities (+3,700). Gains were also reported in professional and business services (+1,800) and in construction (+1,200).

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