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  • Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

Arkansas unemployment drops in May, the first time since before COVID-19

JONESBORO, Ark- Arkansas Unemployment claims in May decreased, showing more Arkansans are back at work.

This is the first time since February that unemployment numbers have decreased, due to the covid-19 pandemic.

“You will continue to see it as long as there is not another spike that would cause another shut down,” says Associate Finance Professor Arkansas State University Philip Tew. “I think you’re beginning to see people go back and you’re beginning to see more businesses opening up. I think you’re gonna continue to see that as long as people can continue to make, I would say smart decisions with the social distancing.

State unemployment in May was 9.5%, down 1.3% from April. Arkansans without jobs in May totaled 128,235, over a 160% increase compared to May 2019.

With national unemployment rate is 13.3%, with Arkansas being below the national average.

Tew says with factories restaurants hiring to keep up with food and product demand, this can partly be attributed to the states decrease in unemployment.

“Absolutely, you’ll see the biggest jump I saw were basically hotels and restaurants, but you’re also beginning to see seeing manufacturing plants like that,” Says Tew. “I think over all eight of the ten sectors basically increased but I think you’ll see quite a bit begin to increase in certain areas.”

Jonesboro’s Nice Pak, a distributer for disinfecting wet wipes is currently hiring.

This is the second time since March the company has had to expand their staff to keep up with demand.

Something Tew says is good economically for the state.


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