State sees its jobless rate slide

Unemployment in Arkansas dipped again in August, from 4.3% in July to 4.2% in August.

The state’s labor force, which has been decreasing and creating hiring challenges for employers, rose in August by 1,651, a result of 3,412 more employed and 1,761 fewer unemployed Arkansans. The labor force increase was the first improvement since April.

“It’s good news when everybody sees the unemployment rate go lower,” Michael Pakko, chief economist at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute, said Friday. “The main thing to note is we’ve seen a steady decline in the number of unemployed.”

Arkansas’ unemployment rate remains below national levels. The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.2% in August, down two-tenths of a percentage point from July.

Six industry sectors posted job gains, while five sectors reported job losses. Government added 3,000 jobs, education and health added 1,700, and leisure and hospitality added 1,500. Manufacturing, on the other hand, lost 1,700 jobs.

Nevertheless, employment remains well below pre-pandemic peaks of February 2020, Pakko reported on his blog at Total payroll employment is down by 22,100 jobs, or 1.8%, Pakko said.

See the full article from Arkansas Democrat Gazette here.