Arkansas’ jobless rate below 7% for first time in more than five years

Arkansas’ March jobless rate of 6.9% ends 61 consecutive months that the rate was at or above 7%, and the drop was helped by significant year-over-year job gains in the state’s tourism industry, the retail sector and the education and health services sector.

The March rate of 6.9% was below the February rate of 7.1% and below the March 2013 rate of 7.4%, according to the report issued Friday (April 18) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The March figures are subject to revision.

Year-over-year, the state’s tourism sector gained an estimated 5,100 jobs, the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector was up 3,000 jobs and the Education and Health Services sector was up 2,500 jobs.

Arkansas’ labor force was an estimated 1.33 million in March, essentially flat compared to February, and up compared to 1.327 million in March 2013. The year-over-year comparison shows an estimated 3,174 more Arkansans in the labor force.

The number of employed in Arkansas during March was 1.238 million, above February employment of 1.236 million, and up an estimated 10,227 jobs compared to the 1.228 million in March 2013.

The number of unemployed was an estimated 91,721 during March, down from the 94,110 in February, and well below the 98,774 in March 2013.

Arkansas’ annual average jobless rate fell from 7.9% during 2011 to a revised 7.5% during 2012. The initial annual average jobless rate for Arkansas during 2013 is 7.5%.

In the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — Arkansas’ largest job sector — employment during March was an estimated 243,500, up from 242,900 in February and ahead of the 241,500 during March 2013. Employment in the sector hit a high of 251,800 in March 2007.

Manufacturing jobs in Arkansas during March totaled 154,000, down compared to 154,300 in February and above the 153,200 in March 2013. Employment in the manufacturing sector fell in 2013 to levels not seen since early 1968. Peak employment in the sector was 247,300 in March 1995.

Government job employment during March was 215,300, down from 215,500 in February and below the 215,800 during March 2012.

The state’s Education and Health Services sector during March had 173,700 jobs, up from the 173,500 during February and up from 171,200 during March 2013. Employment in the sector is up more almost 23% compared to March 2004.

Arkansas’ tourism sector (leisure & hospitality) employed 109,500 during March, up from 109,000 during February, and above the 104,400 during March 2013. The March employment level sets a new record for the sector. The number is subject to revision in future reports.

The BLS report also noted that 46 states had unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, and four states had increases. The national jobless rate during March was at 6.7%, and was down from the 7.5% in March 2013.


Rhode Island had the highest unemployment rate among the states in March at 8.7%. The next highest rate was Nevada at 8.5% and Illinois at 8.4%. North Dakota again had the lowest jobless rate at 2.6%, followed by Nebraska and South Dakota each at 3.7%.

The March jobless rate in Oklahoma was 4.9%, down compared to 5% in February and down from 5.2% in March 2013.

Missouri’s jobless rate during March was 6.7%, up from 6.4% in February and up compared to 6.6% in March 2013.

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Blame Obama

Unemployment down in Arkansas? Obama must have "cooked the books".-- Tea Party would agree.

Blame The System

Unemployment is not down because the only numbers reported are the people getting benefits or new people that apply. There is no reporting on the people who have used all their benefits and have dropped off the charts and the people who have given up looking. Why are almost 50% of the people in America getting food stamps or other assistance from government?

The System

The actual number of people unemployed is probably 15% to 20% because there is no way to track the people who don't apply for unemployment or as they exhaust their benefits they disappear from the reported numbers.

So True

As long term unemployment benefits expire people disappear off the charts so the longer the economic downturn continues the better the reported unemployment numbers appear. Its just more smoked mirror reporting from Washington to give the appearance of a recovery. There are less people employed today then there were 6 years ago and the population has increased so what does that tell you?


You ask:"Why are almost 50% of the people in America getting food stamps or other assistance from government?" Maybe it's because wages are stagnant over the time productivity has increased dramatically. Numbers of working poor are in the rise. You mention, no reporting on people who have given up looking for work. I submit, they don't count anyway. If you want to work, you can always find work to do. It may not pay enough, but that is another issue altogether. There are statistics for people who are registered with the unemployment offices looking for work although benefits have run-out. A responsible job-seeker should be registered at any and all employment agencies, public or private. Looking for a job is a more difficult job than the job you finally get hired for in most instances. You make a good point even though it might not have been intended. That is, the percentage of people getting government assistance should be the statistic more closely watched. Whatever we can do to offer people secure alternatives to government assistance is the direction this nation should be going. Don't just cut, cut, cut aid to those who need it most. Create lasting alternatives first. Until then, means testing should be the preference. Many people receiving Social Security, for instance, don't need it as they have other means sufficient enough to live on. They are who is dragging down the system.

Unique Irrationale

So our main woes are because a few people who paid for Social Security over all those years don't really need it and are getting it anyway? It's not because so many jobs went overseas cutting out a whole lot of insurance recipients thereby depleting the pool of workers they were adding the uninsured costs on? It's not because of a flood of new people arriving which caused two sides of our government to nearly trample each other in order to provide free things including Social Security to these vast multitudes of new prospective voters? But it's not this, it's the ones who paid for it yet could do without it.

Ok LA Zeebum

Did you really mean that people who have achieved some degree of success in life, paid into social security for 4o+ years, saved for retirement, played by all the rules, are now dragging down the system by collecting what they paid in to support the social security program?

Social Security for the Insecure

Social Security is just that.....basic security for food and shelter for all in the most affluent nation on Earth. It's like insurance against anarchy. Disposable income to blow on casinos,lotto tickets,vacations, etc. should not be the purpose for Social Security income. If you have achieved success and have income to secure your time after your prime earning years, then why get greedy and hoard benefits you don't really need while depriving the most needy fellow citizens. It would be unpatriotic in the land which enabled your success to contribute to the "alleged" future failure of the Social Security System. Would you rather elderly people be living in the streets? Should we be depending upon the likes of ENRON for our pensions?

The Most Needy

Are you saying the "most needy" are our great politicians who have borrowed almost 18 trillion dollars of our future earnings to fund their spending spree and have promised another 80 trillion dollars in future retirement benefits to civil service workers? Get a grip on reality Seguros and quit the poor mouth mode because the only answer is a balanced national budget with a 5% surplus to pay down the debt.

Not Non-Plussed

Get a grip yourself, S C Plus person. The issue is Social Security for those citizens who need that security. We're not talking about "extras". Basic dignity for the less fortunate and less able Americans is something to be proud of. Instead, we have the wealthy paying less tax while the middle class pays more tax....if they are lucky enough to have a job. That's the reality, get a grip yourself. By the way, why are you so hostile as your "poor mouth mode" rhetoric would indicate. You seem contemptuous towards the less fortunate. Don't forget, "...there but for the grace of God, walk I" (and you).

Changing your name only goes so far

without changing the illogic. I forget the term but in psychology there is one for the person that says one thing and does the opposite but genuinely sees nothing at all wrong with what he is doing. Does 'human blight' ring any bells? Please tell us you are not able to influence the lives of other citizens as in constantly finding yourself on city commissions when no one else applies.


It's amazing that AR finally reported good numbers, in my opiton great numbers as it's the lowest unemployment in 5 years. All the comments are showing the bad side of this. I, for one, think it's great news and and think AR is headed in the right direction. I'm hoping that next month it trends down again.

The revised numbers will come out later

The government has discovered if they originally say things are looking better, by the time the revised figures come out later that say they didn' will be old news and it will not matter to anyone.