For the first time in months, Arkansas’s unemployment has dropped, though the number of those unemployed still remains higher than before the coronavirus pandemic hit the state.
Arkansas’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.5% in May, around 1.3% lower than its April percentage of 10.8%. The decrease in unemployment follows the national trend, though the United States’ jobless rate is almost 4% higher at a rate of 13.3%.
According to numbers from the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, over 46,000 Arkansans gained employment in the month of May, a result the division says is due to the partial re-opening of the state’s economy.
Nonfarm payroll jobs rose by 25,900 in May for a total of 1,191,200 jobs. Employment gains were recorded across eight major industry sectors in the state, while two sectors declined.
Leisure and hospitality saw the largest gains with 13,400 jobs. Jobs in the education and health services industry increased by 9,100. Both of these sectors were hardest hit last month, and the gains made in May have not overcome the losses in April.
The government sector saw the largest drop, with a loss of 4,400 jobs. According to the Division of Workforce Services, most of the decline in this sector was "related to educational services in state and local government, due to the official end of the 2019-2020 school year."
Compared to May of 2019, the state has 92,800 fewer nonfarm, payroll jobs.