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Arkansas unemployment rate drops to 4.4 percent in March


The latest labor force data shows for the second straight month, the unemployment rate has declined in the Natural State.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Arkansas declined one-tenth of a percentage point from 4.5% in February to 4.4% in March.

The data, released by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, the state’s civilian labor force decreased by 3,789, with 2,382 fewer employed and 1,407 fewer unemployed Arkansans. The jobless rate in the United States declined two-tenths of a percentage point from 6.2% in February to 6% in March.

Governor Asa Hutchinson said in a statement Friday the state’s unemployment rate is significantly below the national average. “The decline in the unemployment rate is another encouraging sign that we are emerging from the pandemic, and Arkansans have increasing opportunities to return to good-paying jobs,” said Hutchinson. “We do need to increase the numbers in the workforce, and the pandemic has reduced the number of Arkansans available to work. Hopefully, this is short term because hundreds of employers need workers each day.”

Nonfarm payroll jobs increased in Arkansas by 9,400 in March for a total of 1,258,700. Nine major industry sectors saw job gains including leisure and hospitality (+3,200), Educational and health services (+2,000), professional and business services (+1,000), manufacturing (+800), financial activities (+800) and other services (+800). According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the state’s nonfarm payroll job totals are down 29,200 compared to March 2020. Leisure and hospitality showed the largest loss in the year (-12,000). Other employment losses in comparison to the previous year are government (-9,000), educational and health (-6,100), professional and business services (-1,700), information (-1,300) and trade-transportation-utilities (-1,100). The sectors that saw an increase between March 2020 and March 2021 are manufacturing (+1,300), construction (+600) and financial activities (+400).

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