Jobless rate on decline in south central Arkansas

Clark County’s unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) is at 3.7% for March 2023, according to a preliminary county-by-county report released this month by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services. This is down from 4% in February.

According to the report, Clark County had a labor force of 8,362 persons with 8,055 employed and 307 unemployed in March. This compares to February’s labor force of 8,300 with 7,964 employed and 336 unemployed.

Of the six neighboring Southwest Arkansas counties surveyed, all six showed improvements in employment rates from February to March. Counties are listed with their county seats in parentheses: i.e., Clark County (Arkadelphia)

The unemployment rate for Dallas County (Fordyce) is at 3.4% for March, down from 3.9% in February. Dallas County reported a labor force of 2,724.

The unemployment rate for Hot Spring County (Malvern) is at 2.8% for March, down from 3% in February. Hot Spring County reported a labor force of 13,948.

The unemployment rate for Pike County (Murfreesboro) is at 2.7% for March, down from 3% in February. Pike County reported a labor force of 4,031.

The unemployment rate for Ouachita County (Camden) is at 3.3% for March, down from 3.6% in February. Ouachita County reported a labor force of 9,715.

The unemployment rate for Nevada County (Prescott) is at 2.7% for March, down from 2.9% in February. Nevada County reported a labor force of 3,456.

The unemployment rate for Montgomery County (Mt. Ida) is at 4% for March, down from 4.6% in February. Montgomery County reported a labor force of 2,878.

Arkansas jobless rate at record low

In April, Arkansas’ civilian labor force increased by 2,945. There were 4,831 more employed and 1,886 fewer unemployed in the state, pushing the unemployment rate down to a new record low of 2.8%.  Employment has increased for seven consecutive months, with the labor force participation rate increasing to 57.5% in April.

Compared to April 2022, there are 12,869 more employed Arkansans. The unemployment rate is down three-tenths of a percentage point over the year, while the labor force participation rate remains two-tenths of a percentage point lower than last April. 

In April, non-farm payroll jobs increased to 1,360,700, setting a new record high. Jobs in Leisure and Hospitality rose 6,900, mostly in Food Services (+5,500). Jobs in Construction increased 1,900, a typical season expansion. Financial Activities, Professional and Business Services, and Government added 1,100 jobs each.

Compared to April 2022, non-farm payroll jobs are up 33,800. The largest increases were in Leisure and Hospitality (+9,100), Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+6,500), Private Education and Health Services (+5,700), Construction (+5,300), and Manufacturing (+2,300).

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