Pine Bluff’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has dipped from 6.3 percent in February to 5.9 percent in March, according to the latest figures available from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.
The highest unemployment rate for the state in March was found in El Dorado at 6.9 percent. The lowest percentage rate — 2.6 — was found in both Fayetteville and Rogers in northwest Arkansas.
Pine Bluff’s unemployment rate had been rising steadily since November 2017 until February 2018, according to ADWS statistics. The non-seasonally adjusted January rate of 6.5 percent rose from 5.8 in December 2017 and 5.3 in November 2017.
Jefferson County saw a slight decrease in the unemployment rate from February to March, with rates of 5.8 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.
Arkansas’ unemployment rate for March was 3.9 percent, down from 4.2 percent in February. The national unemployment rate for March was 4.1 percent.
As the summer months begin, economists say that construction sites are likely to generate thousands of jobs statewide. There are two major construction projects about to begin in Pine Bluff at the aquatics center and library sites.
Jason Smith is a journeyman electrician who said he is looking forward to more work this summer. He said he would like to be involved in both of the upcoming projects.
“It’s great when a city can put people to work in construction jobs, because in the winter, times are tough,” Smith said. “We make most of our money in the spring and summer months, so it can be difficult at times. I have three kids to support, so I am grateful for any work that I can get.”