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Arkansas’ unemployment rate drops again in September

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Data released on Friday by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services shows the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4% in September, a decline of 0.2% from August.

Arkansas’ rate is lower than the national rate of 4.8%. It’s the third month in a row the state’s unemployment rate has declined.

“We continue to be lower than the national unemployment rate, and it is even better news that more people are returning to the workforce,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement. “Job training is available for any who wish to improve their marketable skills, and I expect job creation to continue in the state because of our skilled workforce and the population growth that we are currently experiencing."

Susan Price, Arkansas Bureau of Labor Statistics programs manager said in a press release, “Approximately 3,561 Arkansans became employed this month and 45,532 more are employed now compared to September 2020.”

Nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 17,300 positions since August. There was significant growth in several major industries.

Jobs in government increased as public schools and universities continued filling positions for the new school year. There was almost double the growth in local government-educational services, with about 8,000 new positions gained, compared to the 4,600 positions in state government-educational services.

Trade, transportation, and utilities added 3,600 jobs. The expansions of retail trade and transportation-warehousing-utilities offset the loss of 500 jobs in wholesale trade.

In the educational and health services industry, the rise was only in educational services, with an increase of over 2,000 jobs.

Employment in manufacturing saw increases of 1,000 jobs, most of which were in durable goods.

The largest job losses was in the leisure and hospitality industry, which was down 2,100 jobs, likely due to the pandemic. The loss of 1,000 jobs in arts, entertainment, and recreation were attributed to typical seasonal losses.

Comparing the data to September 2020, nonfarm payroll jobs in the state have increased by 34,000. In the span of a year, five major industry sectors saw growth by over 4,000 jobs. This includes professional and business services, manufacturing, trade, transportation, and utilities, leisure and hospitality, and financial activities.

The biggest annual decline was in government, losing 4,800 jobs. The loss was split between the federal and local government.