The newest reports on employment and unemployment in Arkansas indicate some signs of weakening conditions in the state’s labor markets, but payroll employment continues to expand at a healthy pace.
An increase in the unemployment rate from 3.3% to 3.4% reflects an increase in the number of unemployed people by 1,020 and a decline in the number of employed by 2,648. The decline in the number of employed represents a departure from the rising employment trend that had prevailed since December of 2021. With the decline in employment exceeding the increase in unemployment, the total labor force (and the labor force participation rate) declined for the month.
In contrast to the relatively sluggish growth of household employment, nonfarm payroll employment continues to register strong gains. For August, payroll employment was up 3,700 and the gain for July was revised higher by 1,700 jobs (seasonally adjusted data). Although nonfarm payroll employment growth was sluggish in the early months of the year, there have been 13,400 net new jobs created since March—an increase of 1.0%.
This growth showed clearly in service-providing sectors hit hard by the pandemic including leisure and hospitality, however, construction, trade, transportation and utilities experienced losses.
Read the full blog by Michael Pakko here.