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Unemployment rate sinks to 3.1% in state

Arkansas’ unemployment rate continued to fall in December, ending 2021 at a record low of 3.1%.

Arkansas’ civilian labor force shrank by 1,098, with 3,750 fewer Arkansans unemployed and 2,652 more workers with jobs.

Over the last four months of 2021, payroll employment was up by 15,000 and from December 2020 to December 2021 the state gained 26,300 jobs, up 2.1%, according to Michael Pakko, chief economist at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute.

Pakko noted that Arkansas payroll employment has nearly recovered to the pre-pandemic peak of February 2020, with the shortfall less than 10,000 jobs, or 0.7%. Nationwide, he said, the employment shortfall is 2.3% compared with February 2020.

As the unemployment rate improves, statistics reveal there is still a great deal of turmoil in the state’s labor market as employers have difficulty filling jobs and more and more Arkansans are joining what is being called the “Great Resignation” as workers leave their jobs to make career switches or stay home because of pandemic-related issues such as child care or workplace-safety concerns.

See the full article from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette here.