Arkansas’ monthly unemployment rate climbed one-tenth of a percent in February to 7.7%.
One year ago, the state’s jobless rate stood at 6.8% as a fast rise in layoffs took their toll. The national unemployment rate remain unchanged from January to February at 9.7%.
“The change in Arkansas’ unemployment rate is a typical increase for February based on historical data,” said Dept. of Workforce Services Communications Director Kimberly Friedman.
On a very positive note, manufacturing gained 1,300 jobs. All growth was posted in durable goods, as some facilities have recalled workers and others reported increased hiring – a sign that economic activity in factories is stirring.
However, construction jobs fell below 50,000 in February - their lowest level since December 1998.
The largest monthly decline occurred in trade, transportation and utilities, which lost 2,600 jobs. Government employment rose on seasonal gains to add 3,800 jobs. Employment levels, particularly in state government have rebounded from previous declines related to winter break at public schools, according to DWS.
In a trend we’ve been monitoring, the overall gap between government employment (220,800) and jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities industries (223,300) shrunk. The state’s top two job sectors are now only separated by 2,500 jobs.