State’s unemployment down to 2.7%

Arkansas continued to see record employment levels in May, posting job gains for the eighth-straight month that helped lower the state’s unemployment rate to 2.7%, a new low and a full percentage point below the U.S. rate.

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services reported Friday that the state set records in the number of employed and in the number of unemployed, which has dropped by more than 9,500 in the past four months. At the same time, the state labor force added 2,331 workers, keeping the participation rate flat at 57.5%.

“It’s another record-breaking report on several fronts,” Michael Pakko, state economist with the Arkansas Economic Development Institute, said Friday. “We don’t have any signs of an economic slowdown here in Arkansas.”

Though Arkansas is improving, the uptick in the United States bears watching but shouldn’t be a major concern right now, Pakko said.

Only three sectors reported slight job losses in May — the largest was 400 jobs in government while transportation-trade utilities and information services each dropped 300.

Leisure and hospitality was the runaway leader in job creation both for the month and year-over year. The sector added 3,100 jobs from April to May, with food services registering the largest increase at 1,500 jobs, and increased by 11,000 on an annual comparison with data from May 2022.

See the full article from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette here.