State unemployment rate up slightly at 7.2 percent


LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ unemployment rate for October was 7.2 percent, up slightly from 7.1 percent in September, according to labor statistics released Tuesday.

The state’s jobless rate last month was eight-tenths of a percent lower than the October 2011 rate of 8 percent.

“Arkansas’ unemployment rate rose slightly this month, as employment declined 4,700,” said Kimberly Friedman, spokeswoman for the state Department of Workforce Services. “There are still 10,300 more employed and 11,000 fewer unemployed Arkansans than in October 2011.”

The U.S. unemployment rate last month was 7.9 percent, up from 7.8 in September and down from 8.9 percent in October 2011.

DWS reported that 1.3 million Arkansans were employed in October and 98,300 were unemployed.

Five industry sectors posted job gains in October. The biggest increase was in trade, transportation and utilities, which added 3,500 jobs, including 2,500 jobs in retail trade as building material/garden supply dealers and clothing stores added positions.

Government added 3,200 jobs, with local government adding 2,300, a result of continued public school hiring.

Education and health services added 1,400 jobs. Most of the increase occurred in health care and social assistance, attributed largely to expansions at hospitals and in ambulatory health care services.

The biggest decline was in construction, with 2,100 jobs lost. DWS called it a typical weather-related decline.