Arkansas News Bureau

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ unemployment rate in April was 7.7 percent, the same as the state’s adjusted rate for March, labor statistics released Friday show.

The state’s jobless rate for March was announced previously as 7.8 percent, but the U.S. Department of Labor adjusted the rate downward by one-tenth of a percentage point.

Arkansas’ jobless rate for April was 1.3 percentage points below the national rate of 9 percent, which was up from 8.8 percent in March, according to a release from the state Department of Workforce Services.

"Arkansas’ unemployment rate has remained fairly steady throughout 2011," Workforce Services spokeswoman Kimberly Friedman said. "Since April 2010, the labor force has expanded, and there are now 17,100 more employed Arkansans."

The state’s labor force decreased by 1,700 in April. The department said 1.26 million Arkansans were employed during the month and 105,800 were out of work.

The largest increase in employment was in leisure and hospitality with 3,600 jobs added in April, most of those — 2,800 — because of seasonal gains in accommodation and food services.

Professional and business services gained 1,300 jobs, with seasonal gains in administrative support services more than offsetting losses in professional, scientific and technical services.

Manufacturing jobs rose by 1,200 in April, thanks to increases in nondurable goods related in part to hiring in food manufacturing.

Trade, transportation and utilities gained 1,000 jobs, with both retail and wholesale trade posting seasonal gains.

Since April 2010, eight industry sectors saw growth. Professional and business services posted the largest growth with 6,100 jobs added, followed by the leisure and hospitality sector with 5,600 jobs added. Trade, transportation and utilities gained 5,300 jobs since a year earlier.

Construction posted the largest annual decrease, with 2,700 jobs lost since April 2010. Government jobs declined by 2000, mostly caused by the end of the 2010 Census.