State unemployment rate at 6.6 percent for April


LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percentage point to 6.6 percent in April, according to labor statistic released Friday.

The state’s jobless rate last month was down from the April 2013 rate of 7.5 percent, the state Department of Workforce Services said.

Arkansas’ unemployment level last month exceeded the national rate of 6.2 percent, which was down from 6.7 percent in March and 7.5 percent a year ago.

DWS said 1.2 million Arkansas were employed in April and 86,700 were unemployed.

Eight major industry sectors added jobs last month, one declined and two were unchanged. The biggest growth was in leisure and hospitality, which increased by 2,800 jobs, about 2,000 of them in accommodation and food services, a typical season increase.

Trade, transportation and utilities added 1,200 jobs in April. Seasonal hiring in retail accounted for about 1,400 of the new jobs, offsetting the loss of 600 jobs in transportation, warehousing and utilities.

The only major industry sector to report overall losses was education and health services, which declined by 200 jobs.