Local jobless numbers improve in April

Data released by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services on May 29 show that the Pine Bluff unemployment rate for the month of April fell to 10.4 percent from the March reading of 11.7 percent and the February rate of 11.8 percent.

Bentonville recorded the lowest Arkansas April unemployment rate with 4.4 percent while West Memphis had the highest April number with 10.6 percent.

Jefferson County saw an April unemployment rate of 9.5 percent, which is down from the 10.2 percent March reading and the 10.4 percent February number.

Washington County had the lowest April unemployment rate in Arkansas with 4.9 percent while Ashley County had the highest April rate with 11.2 percent.

The April unemployment rate for Arkansas was 7.1 percent which is down from the March reading of 7.2 percent.

“Employment in Arkansas increased 1,700 in April which is the first employment gain since April 2012,” ADWS Communications Director Kimberly Friedman said in a May 17 press release. This increase combined with the minor decline in unemployment was enough to cause the rate to decrease to 7.1 percent.”

The United States unemployment rate for April was 7.5 percent down from the 7.6 percent March rate.

Vickey Davis, chair of the board of directors of the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce, sees the local April unemployment numbers as a positive sign for the community.

“It is always encouraging to have positive news like this,” Davis said Monday. “We can add that to the other positive news we have coming from the community. This will help us to keep pushing for more positive things in the future.”

Davis is also vice president for marketing and corporate secretary for Relyance Bank in Pine Bluff.