PB unemployment increases to 11.2 percent

Preliminary data released by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services show that the Pine Bluff unemployment rate for May increased to 11.2 percent from the April reading of 10.3 percent, emerging as the highest in the state for the month.

Bentonville recorded the lowest unemployment rate for May among Arkansas cities with 4.9 percent percent.

The Pine Bluff rate is down from the high for Pine Bluff so far this year of 12.2 percent in January. Compared to the same month last year, the rate was up: 10.4 percent in May 2012 to 11.2 percent in May 2013.

Jefferson County saw a May unemployment rate of 9.9 percent, which is up from the 9.4 percent April reading but down from the January high of 10.9 percent.

Benton and Carroll counties had the lowest May unemployment rate among Arkansas counties with 5.5 percent while Lee, Phillips and Ashley counties had the highest May rate among Arkansas counties with 11.3 percent.

The preliminary May unemployment rate for Arkansas was 7.3 percent, which was up from 7.2 percent, where the rate has been since the beginning of 2013.

The Arkansas rate is adjusted for seasonal employment, but the city and county rates are not.