Pine Bluff unemployment rate jumps in January

Data released Friday by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services showed the January unemployment rate for Pine Bluff at 12.2 percent, which is a significant jump from the December jobless number of 10.7 percent and the November figure of 9.6 percent.

The January unemployment rate for Jefferson County was 10.8 percent, up from 9.5 percent in December and 8.4 percent in November.

Arkansas as a whole registered a January unemployment rate of 7.2 percent, which is a slight uptick from the December 7.1 percent reading and equal to the November reading of 7.2 percent.

The United States unemployment rate for January was 7.9 percent, up from the 7.8 percent reading from December and November.

The Arkansas city with the highest January unemployment rate was West Memphis with 12.9 percent.

Sherwood, with a 5.2 percent January unemployment reading, had the lowest rate in Arkansas for the month.

ADWS communications director Kimberly Friedman said the increase in the state unemployment rate was in line with the national average.

“Arkansas’ unemployment rate rose slightly in January,” Friedman said. “It is related in large part to the decline in employment. The rate increase was not unexpected and mirrors the trend seen at the national level.”

Labor force data produced by the U.S. Department of Labor showed that Arkansas’ civilian labor force decreased by 3,300 and 800 more Arkansans became unemployed.