LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to a new record low of 3.5 percent in April, according to labor statistics released Friday.
The state Department of Workforce Services said U.S. Department of Labor data show the state’s April jobless rate was nearly a percentage point below the national rate of 4.4 percent, which was down from 4.5 percent in March.
Arkansas’ unemployment rate last month also was down from the state’s April 2016 rate of 4.1 percent.
DWS said 1.3 million Arkansans were employed and 47,697 were unemployed last month. The total job increase was 11,000, the agency said.
“I was pleased to see that Arkansas’ unemployment rate has fallen to an all-time low for the fourth time in as many months.” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement Friday. “Our 3.5 percent unemployment tells us that we are on the right track in terms of implementing conservative policies that spur job creation and put Arkansans to work.”
Hutchinson said the state’s jobless rate “is even more impressive when you consider that the number of employees on the government payroll is shrinking, while private sector employment and the labor force participation rate continue to climb.”
“In fact, there are now 70,200 more Arkansans employed than when I first took office in 2015. Arkansans want to work. As governor, I will continue to pursue policies that increase opportunities for Arkansans to work and raise the quality of life in our state,” he said.
Eight major industry sectors saw overall growth in jobs and one saw a decline in April. Leisure and hospitality had the biggest increase with 4,100 jobs added, 2,800 of them in accommodation and food services and 1,300 of them in arts, entertainment and recreation. The gains were seasonal.
Jobs in trade, transportation and utilities rose by 2,200 last month, with 1,100 of the new jobs attributed to seasonal hiring in retail trade.
Professional and business services added 1,600 jobs in April, 1,500 of them in administrative and support services, a subsector that includes employment agencies.
Construction added 1,300 jobs last month, a typical seasonal expansion.
Government jobs decreased in April by 200.