The jobless rate in Arkansas' seven metropolitan areas dropped in April compared the same month last year, with Pine Bluff recording the biggest gain, falling from 9.8 percent unemployed in April 2011 to 8.8 percent in the fourth month of the year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly report said.

The jobless rate in Arkansas’ seven metropolitan areas dropped in April compared the same month last year, with Pine Bluff recording the biggest gain, falling from 9.8 percent unemployed in April 2011 to 8.8 percent in the fourth month of the year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report said.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 8.1 percent while Arkansas’ jobless rate was 7.2 percent in April. Northwest Arkansas had the lowest regional unemployment rate of 5.3 percent, down from 5.9 percent in April 2011.

April’s unemployment rates in Arkansas’ remaining metropolitan areas, compared with April 2011, were:

• Little Rock, 6.2 percent, down from 6.7 percent;

• Texarkana, 6.2 percent, down from 7.1 percent;

• Jonesboro, 6.5 percent, down from 7.4 percent;

• Hot Springs, 7.2 percent, compared with 7.9 percent last year;

• Fort Smith, 7.3 percent, down from 8.2 percent.