Jobless level in state edges down to 4.5%

Arkansas’ jobless rate improved in February, dropping to 4.5%, closer to the state’s pre-pandemic levels.

The U.S. unemployment rate also fell to 6.2%.

Arkansas’ labor force also dropped, by 12,775, raising concerns for the state’s economic development officials for filling open jobs.

Michael Pakko, chief economist with the Arkansas Economic Development Institute, said Friday’s report was lukewarm. “It’s a story that the recovery continues to slog along,” he said.

“Typically in February you’d begin to see a seasonal rebound, so that was a little disappointing,” Pakko said. “But I would expect those sectors to rebound in March.” These industries’ downturn could be attributed to February’s winter storms.

“We’re on a path to slow recovery and that’s not unusual for labor markets — it takes some time,” Pakko added. “I think the negatives that you see in this report are just little bumps in the road.”

Read the full article on the El Dorado News website here.