LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to a new low of 3.4 percent in May, according to labor statistics released Friday.
The latest local numbers will be released in a few weeks.
The state Department of Workforce Services said U.S. Department of Labor data show the state’s May jobless rate was nearly a percentage point below the national rate of 4.3 percent, which was down from 4.4 percent in April.
Arkansas’ unemployment rate last month was also down from the state’s May 2016 rate of 4.1 percent.
“These are terrific reminders that our economy is on the right track,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement Friday. “As we continue to attract new industry and expand existing employers, we will have a greater need for effective workforce education efforts. I am confident we can meet the ongoing needs of employers. ”
DWS said 1.31 million Arkansas were employed and 46,633 were unemployed last month. The total number of jobs in the state increased by 3,700.
Five major industry sectors saw net increases in jobs in May, more than offsetting minor declines in five sectors.
The biggest increase was in professional and business services, which added 2,200 jobs last month, all of them in administrative and support services. The increase was attributed mostly to expansions at employment agencies and seasonal activities such as landscaping.
Leisure and hospitality added 1,700 jobs in May, 1,200 of them in arts, entertainment and recreation and 500 of them in accommodation and food services. The growth was attributed to seasonal hiring.
Government jobs decreased by 1,000 last month. The loss was in state government and was attributed to the start of summer break at some public colleges and universities.