“The drop in the state’s unemployment rate to a record low is consistent with the duration of the economic expansion, which entered a record 11th year this month.” Policy Foundation, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, July 20, 20191


(August 2019) Arkansas’ unemployment rate hit consecutive all-time record lows this Summer, declining to 3.5% in June and 3.4% in July, preliminary jobs data from the state Department of Workforce Services (ADWS) shows.2


The Arkansas unemployment rate was lower than the U.S. rate both months.3


Record Economic Expansion


The U.S. economy started an expansion in June 2009 when the Great Recession ended, the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge explained in a 2010 research memo.4  The current expansion set a record in July when it entered its 11th year of growth.  The previous record (10 years) occurred between March 1991 and March 2001, according to the NBER’s business cycle chronology.5


Record Number Employed in Arkansas


There were 1,275,300 Arkansans employed in June, an all-time record, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics records show.6  By contrast, only 1,150,000 Arkansans were employed in February 2010 when payroll employment reached a trough this cycle.


The largest subsector gains in July–800 new jobs–occurred in the professional, scientific and technical jobs component.  The Policy Foundation noted the subsector bears watching as Arkansas works to diversify this knowledge-based part of its economy.7


— Greg Kaza