BY MELANIE BUCK –
For the fifth month in a row, Arkansas’ unemployment rate has continued to decline. According to labor force data, the October rate was 5.1 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from September of this year and down seven-tenths of a point from one year ago. Arkansas’ civilian labor force decreased by 100, a result of 1,300 fewer unemployed and 1,200 more employed. The United States’ jobless rate also decreased one-tenth of a percent, bringing it down to 5 percent in October.
In addition to the unemployment rate declining steady for five straight months, it is the twenty-third straight month that employment has increased. The number of employed people in Arkansas has come up by 37,600 since October of 2014.
The unemployment rate in Polk County is not yet available for October 2015, however, the September rate had decreased to 5.7 percent, down two-tenths of a point from August 2015, and down a half percent from a year before in September 2014, when the rate was 6.2 percent.
Nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas also increased in October by 3,200. Employment rose in six major industry sectors while four sectors showed a decline. Government jobs increased by 2,200, while Educational and Health Services increased by 1,100 jobs. Most of the additional jobs occurred in health care and social assistance areas. Jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities also rose by 1,100. Leisure and Hospitality showed a decrease in the number of jobs by 2,100. Losses also occurred in Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation as well as Accommodation and Food Services, a typical seasonal decline losing 800 and 1,300 jobs, respectively.
Compared to October 2014, Arkansas’ Nonfarm Payroll Employment is up by 19,700 and seven major industries reported job growth, while four sectors declined. Construction showed the greatest increase, adding 8,200 jobs in the last year. Educational and Health Services jobs rose by 5,400 and Professional and Business Services added 4,400 jobs. Employment and Hospitality increased by 3,200, with the majority of growth in food services. Jobs in manufacturing declined over the last year by 3,900.
Labor force data is produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.