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Arkansas jobless rate rises to 3.6% in October

People lined up to apply for unemployment assistance in 2020 at an Arkansas Division of Workforce Services office in Fayetteville.
Jacqueline Froelich
People lined up to apply for unemployment assistance in 2020 at an Arkansas Division of Workforce Services office in Fayetteville.

The number of unemployed in Arkansas has risen for seven straight months and the number with jobs has declined for three consecutive months, pushing the state’s jobless rate to 3.6% in October compared with 3.4% in October 2021.

The number of employed in Arkansas during October was an estimated 1,304,653, up 17,802 jobs, or 1.4%, compared with October 2021, but below the 1,306,851 in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report posted Friday (Nov. 18). The October numbers are preliminary and subject to revision.

Arkansas’ labor force, the number of people eligible to work, in October was 1,353,179, up from the 1,331,746 in October 2021, but below the 1,353,668 in September. The state’s labor force participation rate was 56.7% in October, above the 56.3% in October 2021, and below the 56.8% in September.

Arkansans without jobs in October totaled 48,526, up from the 47,526 in September, and 8.08% above the 44,895 in October 2021.

The biggest year-over-year sector gains were in manufacturing (6,300 more jobs), and Trade, Transportation & Utilities (6,100 more jobs).


Unemployment rates were higher in October in 24 states, lower in 1 state, and stable in 25 states and the District of Columbia, according to the BLS report. Thirty-nine states and the District had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, 1 state had an increase, and 10 states had little change. The national unemployment rate was 3.7% in October, down from 4.6% in October 2021.

Minnesota and Utah had the lowest jobless rates in October at 2.1% each. The next lowest rates were in North Dakota and Vermont at 2.3% each. The rates in Louisiana (3.3%) and Pennsylvania (4%) set new series lows. (All state series begin in 1976.)

The District of Columbia had the highest unemployment rate at 4.8%, followed by Illinois and Nevada at 4.6% each. In total, 17 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. rate of 3.7%, 5 states and 28 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.


Trade, Transportation, and Utilities
October 2022: 267,400
September 2022: 265,500
October 2021: 261,300
Sector employment set a record of 268,000 in July 2022.

October 2022: 209,600
September 2022: 209,700
October 2021: 208,700
Sector employment hit a peak of 224,100 in May 2010.

Education and Health Services
October 2022: 198,400
September 2022: 198,900
October 2021: 193,700
Sector employment marked a new record of 202,000 in August 2022.

October 2022: 165,100
September 2022: 165,100
October 2021: 158,800
Manufacturing, once the state’s largest jobs sector, posted record employment of 247,600 in February 1995.

Professional and Business Services
October 2022: 150,800
September 2022: 151,400
October 2021: 147,400
Sector employment set a record of 152,600 in January 2022.

Leisure and Hospitality
October 2022: 124,000
September 2022: 124,300
October 2021: 120,200
Sector employment marked a new record of 124,700 in August 2022.

Financial Activities
October 2022: 69,500
September 2022: 69,000
October 2021: 65,400
October employment marked a new record for the sector.

October 2022: 54,500
September 2022: 55,300
October 2021: 55,500
The sector reached record employment of 57,700 in February 2006.

This story comes from the staff of Talk Business & Politics, a content partner with KUAR News. You can hear the weekly program on Mondays at 6:06 p.m.