- Associated Press - Friday, April 18, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - State officials say Arkansas’ unemployment rate has dropped below 7 percent for the first time in more than five years.

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services says the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 percent in March, down from 7.1 percent in February. Agency spokeswoman Becky Heflin says it’s the first time Arkansas’ jobless rate has been below 7 percent since January 2009.

All major industry sectors posted gains in March. Jobs in leisure and hospitality rose by 3,200, while employment in trade, transportation and utilities increased by 3,000.

Construction added 1,900 jobs and government employment increased by 1,200.

The national unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in March.

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