Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point, from 4.6 percent in January to 4.5 percent in February, according to a report released March 26 by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services.

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Labor force data is produced by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and released by the ADWS.

According to the report, Arkansas’ civilian labor force declined 12,775, a result of 10,820 fewer employed and 1,955 fewer unemployed Arkansans. The U.S. jobless rate also decreased one-tenth of a percentage point, down to 6.2 percent in February.

BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price said, “The unemployment rate in Arkansas decreased one-tenth of a percentage point in February, due to a decline in the size of the civilian labor force. While still up compared to February2020, Arkansas’ jobless rate is one and seven-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate.”

The ADWS report stated that Arkansas’ non-farm payroll jobs rose 500 in February to total 1,246,100. Four major industry sectors added jobs, more than offsetting declines in six sectors. Jobs in government increased 2,100. Gains in state government, educational services (+2,100) were largely related to the return of public college and university staff after winter break. Professional and business

services added 2,000 jobs. Hiring was reported in administrative-support services (+1,300) and professional-scientific-technical services (+1,000), the latter of which includes activities such as accounting and tax preparation services.

Smaller gains were posted in educational and health services (+900) and other services (+900). Employment inconstruction declined 1,400, mostly due to winter weather events in February. Jobs in leisure and hospitality decreased1,300, all in food services (-2,100).

Compared to February 2020, non-farm payroll jobs in Arkansas are down 41,500, according to the report. Declines occurred in ten major industry sectors. Employment in leisure and hospitality fell 15,400. Most of the contraction was in food services (-11,500). Jobs in government decreased 8,500, with local government posting the

largest decline (-6,100). Educational and health services lost 7,600 jobs. Most of the loss occurred in health care and social assistance (-7,000). Jobs in manufacturing are down 4,400, largely in non-durable goods manufacturing (-4,100).

Notable declines were also posted in professional and business services (-3,000), information (-1,200) and financial activities (-1,000). Jobs in construction rose 600, related to large-scale projects across the state.