Arkansas jobless rate ticks up to 7.2%

Posted: March 18, 2013 at 9:38 a.m.
Updated: March 18, 2013 at 9:41 a.m.

The state's unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point in January to 7.2 percent, the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services said Monday.

That was up from December's rate of 7.1 percent.

The increase came as the United States' joblessness rate also rose one-tenth of a percentage point, reaching 7.9 percent in January from 7.8 percent in December.

“Arkansas’ unemployment rate rose slightly in January, related in large part to the decline in employment. The rate increase was not unexpected and mirrors the trend seen at the national level,” Department of Workforce Services spokesman Kimberly Friedman said in a statement.

The Arkansas job sectors with the largest losses were government (down 6,100 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities (a loss of 5,800) and in retail (down 3,400) after seasonal workers wrapped up the Christmas shopping season. Construction also underwent a typical seasonal fluctuation, the department said.

In January 2012, the Arkansas unemployment rate was 7.4 percent, while the U.S. rate was 8.3 percent.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.