State unemployment rate up slightly at 7.2 percent


LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ unemployment rate for January was 7.2 percent, up slightly from 7.1 percent in December, according to labor statistics released Monday by the state Department of Workforce Services.

The state’s jobless rate in January was two-tenths of a percent lower than the January 2012 rate of 7.4 percent.

“The rate increase was not unexpected and mirrors the trend at the national level,” said DWS spokeswoman Kimberly Friedman.

DWS reported that 1.25 million were employed in January and 96,500 were unemployed.

Job losses were reported in all eleven major industry sectors, with the biggest decrease, 6,100, in government. Of those, 4,200 were in state state government and 1,400 in local government. Those job losses were attributed to the holiday break in public schools.

Jobs in trade, transportation and utilities dropped 5,800. A majority of the losses, 3,400, occurred in retail trade related to the end of the holiday shopping seasons. Jobs in construction declined 2,700, a typical seasonal fluctuation, according to a DWS release. Jobs in professional and business services dropped 1,900. Most of those — 1,700 — were in administrative and support services, which includes employment agencies.