Indiana March jobless rate of 3.9 percent lowest since '01

Reuters

Arkansas' unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent in March, its third-straight monthly record low, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

On a broader scale, the county gained 84,000 payroll jobs over the past 12 months for a growth rate of 1.9 percent, slightly better than the growth rates the county has been seeing recently. Job gains in trade, transportation and utilities, manufacturing, government and information were offset by losses in professional and business services, construction, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, education and health services, natural resources and other services. Meanwhile, the count of employed people increased by 41,000 over the a year ago. However, in the past year, the county's labor force has grown by about 4,500 workers. For instance, the unemployment rate was lower among women than among men. The nation's unemployment rate was 4.5 percent, a almost 10-year low, in March.

From February to March, the state lost about 16,000 jobs, according to the state's report.

The state's jobless rate rose almost a full percentage point, reaching almost 6 percent, as more and more people joined the labor force too look for work again.

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The national unemployment rate decreased two-tenths of a percentage point in March to 4.5 percent. Six counties experienced rates above 6 percent: Clearwater, at 9 percent; Adams, at 7.1 percent; Shoshone and Lewis, at 7 percent each; Benewah, at 6.9 percent; and Lemhi, at 6 percent. But Vermont's low jobless rate-5 percent or less since 2012-was having little effect, especially at the low end. It was the third time in the past year that the state was at 4.9 percent unemployment and the lowest in almost a decade. This improvement was largely for positive reasons, as the number of unemployed residents dropped by 29,500 and the number of employed residents rose by 26,100, according to the household phone survey. "Not only has unemployment decreased, but private sector employment has skyrocketed to an all time high for our great state". New Mexico had the highest rate at 6.7 percent, followed by Alaska at 6.4 percent, Alabama and Washington, D.C., at 5.8 percent and Lousiana at 5.7 percent.

Unemployment rates were lower than the statewide average in all three metro areas: Portland-South Portland (2.6 percent), Lewiston-Auburn (3.2 percent) and Bangor (3.4 percent).

But the broad picture for the state, Teshome and other anaylsts said, is solid. Maine's unemployment rate last month was 3%, as was Vermont's.

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