Unemployment rate unchanged; jobs decline

Lee County's unemployment rate rose from 5 percent to 5.8 percent in January.

Compared to January 2016, nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas increased by 11,800. He says the complete picture is one of a state economy approaching full employment.

"Our unemployment rate rose because almost 10,000 more people entered the labor force last month, and about 6,500 of them found work", Washington said.

Over the year, the unemployment rate is down five-tenths of a percentage point from 3.4 percent and is at the lowest level since it was 2.8 percent in February 2001.

Shelby County had the state's lowest unemployment rate at 5 percent, followed by Elmore County with 5.6 percent.

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The Labor Department, which usually updates its labor force data at the same time it releases the unemployment rate, did not release January labor force statistics on Tuesday, with most state workers told to stay home because of the snowstorm. "The others remain unemployed", said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. Only Wyoming, which saw its unemployment rate jump 1.1% during 2016, saw a significant increase of more than 0.5%. The number of people actively participating in the labor force increased 3,500 to 2,911,900 and total employment increased 5,100 to 2,827,200 causing the number of unemployed to decline 1,600. Employment in government declined 6,000.

"I'm sorry for these employees that they will be laid off as a result of the consolidation, but the Department of Labor is very much committed to working with all of the folks who are affected to help find employment for them", Kurrle said.

On the bright side, average weekly earnings grew $6.53 from December to $789.66 in January.

The seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate in January was 4.8 percent.

  • Ronnie Bowen