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State jobless rate down slightly

Arkansas’ unemployment rate decreased two-tenths of a percentage point to 6.4 percent in May, according to labor statistics released Friday.

“The rate has decreased for eight consecutive months and is down more than one full percentage point compared to May 2013,” said Becky Heflin, spokeswoman for the state Department of Workforce Services.

The state’s jobless rate was 7.5 percent in May 2013.

Arkansas’ unemployment rate last month was slightly above the national rate of 6.3 percent, which was unchanged from April.

The department said 1.2 million Arkansans were employed in May and 84,100 were unemployed.

Eight major industry sectors added jobs in May, with the biggest growth occurring in educational and health services. The department said that sector added 1,100 jobs, with an increase of 1,400 jobs in health care and social assistance offsetting the seasonal loss of 300 jobs in educational services.

Construction added 800 jobs, a typical season expansion, with a large portion of the increase occurring in heavy and civil engineering construction.

The biggest degrease was in government jobs. The overall loss of 1,000 jobs in that sector was attributed to a 1,600-job decrease in state government, related to the start of summer break at public colleges and universities.

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