LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ unemployment rate rose slightly in July, according to labor statistic released Friday.
The state jobless rate was 7.3 percent in July, up from 7.2 percent in June and back to the same rate reported for May, the state Department of Workforce Services said.
“This minor rate increase is within historical trends for July,” said DWS spokeswoman Kimberly Friedman. “There are still 28,800 more employed Arkansans than in July 2011.”
Arkansas’ unemployment rate for July is nine-tenths of a percentage point lower than the July 2011 rate of 8.2 percent.
The state jobless rate for last month was one percentage point lower than the national rate of 8.3 percent.
DWS reported that 1.28 million Arkansas were employed in July and 100,700 were out of work. The total civilian labor force in the state dropped by 3,400 in July.
Seven major industry sectors reported decreases in July, more than offsetting gains in two sectors.
The biggest drop last month was in government jobs, with a 14,400 decrease in July. DWS attributed the loss to the summer break at public schools and universities.
Employment in leisure and hospitality dropped by 1,200 in July, with the losses occurring in accommodation and food services and largely attributed to food services contractors that serve schools.
Manufacturing jobs rose by 1,000 last month, and jobs in durable goods rose by 900. The gains in the latter were in fabricated metal product manufacturing and wood product manufacturing.
Since July 2011, five major industry sectors reported increases. Three others reported losses.
The biggest increase over the past year was in educational and health services, with 7,200 jobs added, about 5,000 of them in health care and social assistance.
Government jobs grew by 3,600 since July 2011, with growth in local government more than offsetting declines in federal and state government jobs.
Jobs in leisure and hospitality rose by 3,400 over the past year, with about 3,000 of them occurring in food services.
Employment in construction decreased by 4,800 since July 2011, with the losses occurring in utility system construction, building equipment contracting and nonresidential building construction.