The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services says labor force data, produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Arkansas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point from 7.0-percent in November to 7.1 percent in December.
Arkansas' civilian labor force decreased by 8,500, a result of 8,700 fewer employed and 200 more unemployed Arkansans.
The United States' jobless rate remained stable at 7.8 percent.
"Arkansas' unemployment rate increase was spurred by the decline in employment, which brought down the civilian labor force total. The jobless rate is seven-tenths of a percentage point lower than in December 2011 and is still significantly lower than the national rate," said DWS Communications Director Kimberly Friedman.
Arkansas' nonfarm payroll employment rose 7,700 since December 2011. Seven major industry sectors posted growth, with four adding 1,400 or more jobs, each. Employment decreased in four major sectors. Educational and health services increased 3,600. Health care and social assistance posted a majority of the expansion (+2,500), with gains reported in general medical and surgical hospitals. Leisure and hospitality also added 3,600 jobs. Most of the increase occurred in food services (+3,100). Jobs in government rose 2,500. Local government captured a majority of the additions (+1,700), as public education experienced growth. Employment in other services increased 1,400. Gains were reported in personal and laundry services, which includes businesses such as beauty salons and dry cleaners. Jobs in construction dropped 2,700, attributed in part to reported declines in heavy and civil engineering construction.