Unemployment rate drops slightly in November

Unemployment in Pine Bluff dropped one-tenth of a percent in November compared to the previous month, but was still three-and-a-half points above the state average and the highest among cities in the state.

Eleven percent of the city’s workforce was unemployed in November, the last month the numbers were available, compared to 11.1 percent in October, according to the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

The state average for both months stood at 7.5 percent, an increase of three-tenths of a percent from November 2012.

Bentonville, Springdale and Fayetteville reported the lowest unemployment in the state at 4.9 percent. The second-highest unemployment rate after Pine Bluff was West Memphis at 10.8 percent.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 7.0 in November, a drop of three-tenths of a percentage point from October, and eight-tenths of a percent from November 2012 when the unemployment rate stood at 7.8 percent.

The unemployment rate in Jefferson County dropped two-tenths of a point, going from 9.9 percent in October to 9.7 percent in November.

Specifically, the state report said 17,243 people were working in Pine Bluff in November while another 2,127 were unemployed. Those numbers compare to a total of 19,240 people working in October and 2,142 unemployed.

For Jefferson County, 32,600 people were working in November, and another 3,150 were unemployed. For the previous month, there were 17,098 people working and 2,142 unemployed.

Non-farm related jobs increased by 1,700 in November, with jobs in trade, transportation and utilities accounting for 1,600 of those jobs. A majority of the increase was in retail trade, reflecting the state of the holiday shopping season.