State unemployment rate rose slightly to 7.3 percent in May


LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in May, up slightly from the April rate which was originally reported at 7.1 percent but later revised to 7.2 percent, according to labor statistics released Friday.

The state jobless rate was 0.3 percentage points below the national rate, which rose from 7.5 in April to 7.6 in May.

The state Department of Workforce Services reported that 1.24 million Arkansans were employed last month and 97,000 were unemployed.

Employment decreased in six major industry sectors, offsetting gains in five sectors. The biggest decrease occurred in professional and business services, with 2,000 jobs lost, a majority of them in professional-scientific-technical services. DWS officials cited seasonal declines in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services.

Jobs in educational and health services declined by 1,700, with 1,200 of the jobs lost in health care and social assistance.

Employment in trade, transportation and utilities rose by 1,900, with 1,200 of the jobs added in retail trade, a typical seasonal expansion. Construction also experienced a seasonal increase of 1,400 jobs.