The State Department of Workforce Services (DWS) says Arkansas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point from 7.9-percent in November (revised from 8.0-percent) to 7.7-percent in December.
DWS says Arkansas' civilian labor force increased 3,100, a result of 6,300 more employed and 3,200 fewer unemployed Arkansans.
The United States' jobless rate also fell two-tenths of a percentage point from 8.7-percent in November (revised from 8.6-percent) to 8.5-percent in December.
DWS Communications Director Kimberly Friedman said, "The number of employed Arkansans increased for the fourth consecutive month. This increase in employment has contributed to the unemployment rate's decrease over the last three months."
Since December 2010, nonfarm payroll employment in Arkansas rose 7,700. Nine major industry sectors added jobs, with four sectors gaining 1,400 or more jobs, each. Educational and health services posted the largest increase (+3,500), mostly in health care and social assistance (+2,200). Employment in government rose 3,200. Most of the gain occurred in local government (+3,900), related to expansions at public schools. Other services added 1,800 jobs, as growth was reported throughout all subsectors. Leisure and hospitality increased 1,400. A majority of the increase occurred in food services (+1,200). Jobs in manufacturing decreased 4,100. Losses were seen in both nondurable (-3,000) and durable (-1,100) goods manufacturing.