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County’s unemployment rate rises

The unemployment rate in Logan County rose to 7.8 percent in January, the latest month for which county statistics are available. The jobless rate in December was 7.1 percent.

According to the state’s Department of Workforce Services, there were 8,500 people employed and 725 people unemployed in the county in January.

In the fourth quarter of last year, the jobless rate in Logan County ranged from 7.1 percent to 7.5 percent. In January, 2013, the unemployment rate in the county was 8.4 percent.

Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point, from 7.3 percent in January to 7.1 percent in February. Arkansas’ civilian labor force increased 2,500, a result of 5,400 more employed and 2,900 fewer unemployed Arkansans. The United States’ jobless rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point, rising from 6.6 percent in January to 6.7 percent in February.

“Arkansas’ unemployment rate has been steadily decreasing since October 2013, while employment has increased and the number of unemployed has declined,” DWS Communications Director Becky Heflin said. “There are currently 7,400 more employed Arkansans than this time last year.”

Nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas increased 6,200 in February to total 1,178,900. Seven major industry sectors posted gains, while four sectors declined slightly. Government added 5,100 jobs. A majority of the additions were in state (4,600) and local (600) government, as public schools and universities returned to full capacity after the holiday break. Employment in leisure and hospitality rose 900, an expected seasonal increase. Trade, transportation, and utilities posted the greatest decline (900). Losses in retail trade (700) were mostly seasonal.

Since February 2013, Arkansas gained 9,600 nonfarm payroll jobs.

Employment increased in six major industry sectors, offsetting minor declines in four sectors. One industry sector remained stable. Leisure and hospitality posted the largest growth (3,800). Most of the gains were in food services (3,000), as limited service restaurants reported a majority of the expansion. Trade, transportation, and utilities added 2,800 jobs. Increases were posted in both retail (1,600) and wholesale (1,500) trade. Jobs in educational and health services rose 2,600.

A majority of the growth occurred in health care and social assistance (2,300), which includes hospitals, nursing care facilities and child day cares.

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