November jobless rate inches to 3.7%

Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ticked upward in November, increasing one-tenth of a percent to 3.7% from 3.6% in October, according to the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services.

When compared with November of last year, Arkansas’ unemployment rate is up one-fifth of a percentage point from 3.3%.

Arkansas’ civilian labor force was down by 1,417 to 1,351,744 million, with 2,292 fewer employed and 875 additional unemployed in the state, when compared with October. For the year, the state’s labor force grew by 20,411 workers, up from 1,331,333 in November of 2021.

Earlier this week, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point to a 4.25% to 4.5% target range. The move comes after four 75 basis point increases in a row, the fastest pace of increases since the 1980s.

Michael Pakko, chief economist at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute said Arkansas was one of the few states that reported significant increase in unemployment when compared to a year ago. He noted the state still is sitting below 4% unemployment, a rate typically considered full-employment.

He said Arkansas’ job market is starting to show weakness, with negative numbers in this month’s report including eight of the 10 sectors showing job losses. Pakko noted the number of the state’s unemployed has ticked up for eight months in a row and this month nearly every sector saw job losses. In Arkansas, the state’s nonfarm payroll jobs were down by 5,400 in November when compared to the previous month, totaling 1,329,200. Eight major industry sectors lost workers for the period. The trade, transportation and utilities and the education and health services sectors were the only ones to post gains month over month.

Read the full article from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette here.