By mid-2012, Arkansas had regained nearly all the jobs it lost during the recession. Blessed with bountiful natural resources, the Natural State has especially benefited from its expanding agriculture and energy sectors and solid performance in its manufacturing, healthcare and retail industries. This diversity has served to bolster the Arkansas economy, which is good news for the Arkansas job market and the state's 1.4 million workers.
Arkansas Job Opportunities
Arkansas's fertile soil and mild weather supported a once agricultural-based economy. However, the state has since diversified into a range of businesses, such as industrial production, transportation, retail and tourism. Arkansas is home to the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, as well as Tyson Foods, Dillard's and J.B. Hunt Transport.
Most jobs in Arkansas are provided by the trade, transportation and utilities sector followed closely by the government sector. Arkansas has expanded public-sector jobs as most other states have reported declines. Other critical hiring sectors include education/health services and manufacturing. Many sectors have consistently added jobs, including government, education/health services, leisure and hospitality, and other services; other job sectors have reported mixed performance.
Arkansas Employment Trends
The Arkansas unemployment rate, which was relatively stable over the past several years, peaked at 8.2 percent in mid-2011. By early 2012, the rate was well below 8 percent. After declining during the second half of 2011, state payrolls have resumed growing. Online hiring continues to show positive momentum.
Employment in Arkansas is expected to increase 1.8 percent between Q2 2012 and Q2 2013, more than the 1.3 percent expansion expected in the US job supply, according to Moody's Analytics.