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Unemployment in Arkansas drops below pre-pandemic levels

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Little Rock, Arkansas — Following the latest report of February 2022, Governor Asa Hutchinson described the state’s latest unemployment data as “a good sign” Monday.

Unemployment has dropped to a new low of 3.1% across the state, 0.5% lower than pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

The governor added that “our economy is growing, and it makes a difference in people’s lives.”

“Every employer out there is wanting more workers, they have a need to improve their workforce,” Hutchinson said.

Saying officials are noticing that people are getting back to work faster than anticipated, Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston agreed.

According to Preston, there’s still room for growth. “We actually saw growth in our labor pool,” he said. “That means, you know, even though we are very low unemployment, there’s still a lot of open jobs out there.”

Nearly every industry in the state has grown its labor force over the last year – even in some unexpected fields, according to the Arkansas Division of Work Services Report. “We see people returning to the medical field, we see them returning as teachers and in education,” Hutchinson said.

Areas like food services are also seeing a slow road back to normalcy. “I don’t know if we’ll ever get to a point where we were pre-pandemic, when it comes to, you know, the foodservice or hospitality,” Preston explained.

According to Hutchinson, Arkansas still sits in the top 10 states for hiring in the country, an upward trend state leaders hope continues. “We’ve got work to do. But we are trending in the right direction. That’s a good sign for Arkansas,” the governor said.

 

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