Unemployment Rate Climbs to 5.1 Percent

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas unemployment rate rose four-tenths of a percentage point to 5.1 percent in May, with the increase being blamed on layoffs across the state.

The state Dept. of Workforce Services says the national jobless rate grew five-tenths of a percentage point in May, reaching 5.5 percent.

Arkansas' civilial labor force grew by 11,500 between April and May.  The gain includes the addition of 4,700 employed and 6,800 unemployed Arkansans.

Gains were seen in eight major industries, with three adding 1,000 or more jobs, each.  Employment exceeded record highs in three major sectors.

Over the year, Arkansas' nonfarm payroll jobs increased 2,700.  From a year ago, manufacturing lost 7,000 jobs, with more than 60 percent of the loss seen in durable goods.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)