Arkansas’ May jobless rate of 7.3% put an end to a steady rate decline that began in July 2011 when the state’s unemployment figure reached 8.2%. Arkansas was one of 18 states to see a jobless rate increase between April and May.
The May rate was slightly ahead of 7.2% in April, but well under the 8.1% in May 2011. May also marks the 40th consecutive month the Arkansas jobless rate has been above 7%.
The May report also shows that Arkansas lost an estimated 52 jobs between April and May. The report also shows an estimated increase of 329 Arkansans out of work during May. The number of unemployed in May totaled 101,024, compared to 100,695 in April.
However, there are 33,223 more employed and 9,454 fewer unemployed when compared to May 2011.
ARKANSAS SECTOR NUMBERS
In the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — Arkansas’ largest job sector — employment during May was an estimated 235,500, below the revised 238,600 during April and below the 236,400 during May 2011. Peak employment in the sector during 2011 was 240,400 during January 2009.
Manufacturing jobs in Arkansas during May totaled 157,500, up from 156,400 in April but below the 160,000 during May 2011. May was the second consecutive month of job gains in the troubled manufacturing sector. Employment in the once booming manufacturing sector fell in 2011 to levels not seen since early 1968. The April jobs figure is 33.2% below the January 2001 sector employment of 236,000.
Government job employment during May was 222,500, up compared to the 221,600 during April and ahead of the 218,900 during May 2011.
The state’s Education and Health Services sector during May had 171,100 jobs, unchanged from the revised April count and up from 166,600 during May 2011. Employment in the sector us up almost 28% compared to January 2002.
Arkansas’ tourism sector (leisure & hospitality) employed 104,200 during May, below the revised 104,900 during April and ahead of the 99,300 during May 2011.
The construction sector employed an estimated 45,300 during May, below the 45,800 during April and below the 46,700 during May 2011.
The Oklahoma jobless rate fell to 4.8% in May, down from the 5% during April and below the 5.9% during May 2011. Oklahoma’s jobless rate has posted below 7% since September 2010.
The Missouri jobless rate was 7.3% during May, unchanged from April and well below the 8.6% during May 2011.
The U.S. rate during May was 8.2%, up from 8.1% during April and below the 9% during May 2011.
According to the BLS report, 49 states and the District of Columbia posted jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, and one state (New York) had an increase.
Nevada continued to record the highest unemployment rate among the states, 11.6% in May. Rhode Island and California posted the next highest rates, 11% and 10.8%, respectively. North Dakota again registered the lowest jobless rate, 3%, followed by Nebraska, 3.9%, and South Dakota, 4.3%.