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Posts tagged: Unemployment rate

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – July 2015

By , August 21, 2015 10:34 AM

The unemployment rate in Arkansas declined by 0.1% in July, bringing the rate back down to where it was in March — 5.6%.  The national unemployment rate in July was 5.3%.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Arkansas’ labor force contracted slightly in July as the number of unemployed dropped (-1,300) by more than the increase in the number of employed (+1,000).  July’s small labor force contraction followed 14 consecutive months of increase.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payrolls expanded by 1,200 in July (seasonally adjusted).  Employment in the construction sector showed a particularly sharp increase for the month (+1,800), bringing the 12-month cumulative growth in that sector to 6,800 jobs.  Professional and Business services also showed a robust gain (+1,000).  Several sectors saw job losses in July, including Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade.  Overall, payroll employment over the past 12 months has increased by 28,400 jobs — a growth rate of 2.4%.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

# # #

*Seasonally adjusted data for Arkansas nonfarm payroll employment, reported in a format compatible with the monthly news release from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, can be found hereTable-Seasonally Adjusted NFPE.

Metro Area Employment and Unemployment – June 2015

By , July 29, 2015 12:53 PM

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that unemployment rates in Arkansas metro areas are all down from a year ago, but the pace of decline has slowed.  On a year-over-year basis, the state-wide not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen by 0.6%.  In six of the eight metro areas that include parts of Arkansas, rates have fallen by more than that.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

On a month-to-month basis, seasonally-adjusted metropolitan area estimates show the unemployment declining in all eight metro areas in June.  In six of the eight metro areas, the June decline was larger than the 0.1% drop in the statewide data.  Unemployment rates are now at 5% or lower in four of the state’s metro areas.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Smoothed Seasonally Adjusted Metropolitan Area Estimates

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Seasonally Adjusted Metropolitan Area Estimates

As shown in the figure below, the seasonally adjusted estimates rose somewhat in the earlier part of this year, particularly in metro areas with relatively high unemployment rates.  Hence, unemployment rates in those areas are unchanged or up slightly compared to their low points earlier this year.  In the four metro areas with the lowest unemployment rates, however, the trend continues downward.  Where unemployment rates are at or below 5%, we should not expect significant further reductions.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Smoothed Seasonally Adjusted Metropolitan Area Estimates

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Seasonally Adjusted Metropolitan Area Estimates

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payroll employment rose in June for six of the eight metro areas, but was down in Fort Smith and Pine Bluff.  Those two metro areas are also the only two that have experienced declines over the past 12 months as well.  According to the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pine Bluff retains the dubious distinction of having the largest percentage decline in employment nationwide.  On a more positive note, a 1.3% employment increase in Hot Springs made that metro area the fourth in the state to break the barrier of having higher employment now than before the 2008-09 recession.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

The figure below illustrates the wide range of payroll employment growth since the onset of the recession (smoothed, by taking quarterly averages of the monthly figures).  In Jonesboro, employment is nearly 13% higher than it was in the fourth quarter of 2007.  At the other extreme, employment in Pine Bluff has fallen by more than 16% over the same period.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

Metro Area Unemployment and Employment – May 2015

By , July 1, 2015 5:41 PM

New data on metro area employment and unemployment came out today, including newly revised unemployment figures from the smoothed seasonally adjusted estimates.  On a not seasonally adjusted basis, unemployment rates in Arkansas metro areas ranged from a high of 7.7% in Pine Bluff to a low of 4.3% in Fayetteville.  All eight of the metro areas that include parts of Arkansas have experienced declines in unemployment over the most recent 12-month period.  The largest year-over-year decline was in Texarkana — down 1.2%.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Since the data revisions earlier this year, smoothed seasonally adjusted estimates of metro area unemployment had not been available.  The process of updating seasonal factors is now complete, so we new have a new set of estimates to compare month-to-month changes in unemployment rates around the state.  As shown in the table below, changes in unemployment rates from April to May were mixed.  Unemployment rates were up in Memphis and Pine Bluff, and were unchanged in Fort Smith and Jonesboro.  In the other four metro areas, unemployment rates moved one-tenth of a point lower.  Statewide, the unemployment rate was unchanged in May.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Smoothed Seasonally Adjusted Metropolitan Area Estimates.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Smoothed Seasonally Adjusted Metropolitan Area Estimates.

The revisions to seasonally adjusted unemployment rates come from three sources.  First are the changes due to the “new generation of time-series models” that were updated to include updated estimate inputs and population controls.  Second are changes in metro area definitions that affected Fort Smith, Memphis and Texarkana (see Metro Area Unemployment and Employment – January 2015).  Third are the updates to the seasonal factors themselves.  The net results of these updates are illustrated in the set of figures below:

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Smoothed Seasonally Adjusted Metropolitan Area Estimates

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Smoothed Seasonally Adjusted Metropolitan Area Estimates

For most of the metro areas in Arkansas, the revisions had the effect of raising the estimates unemployment rates for the period from 2010 through 2012.   The revised statistics also show a smoother downward trend in the unemployment data for late-2013 through 2014.  So far in 2015, the newly-released statistics show leveling-off of unemployment rates in most metro areas, but a move toward higher rates in some areas, particularly Fort Smith and Pine Bluff.

Payroll Employment
Data from the payroll survey show that nonfarm payroll employment changes were mixed in May.   Monthly changes in employment ranged from +1.6% in Hot Springs to -1.2% in Pine Bluff.  Compared to a year ago, Pine Bluff is the only metro area to have experienced a decline in payrolls.  In fact, the Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Summary noted that Pine Bluff had the dubious distinction of having “the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment” in the nation (according to the not seasonally adjusted data).   Compared to employment levels before the 2008-09 recession, Little Rock has moved into positive territory, joining Fayetteville and Jonesboro.  The other five metro areas in the state continue to show net declines in employment since December 2007.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

 

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – May 2015

By , June 19, 2015 11:11 AM

Arkansas’ unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.7% in May.  After having edged down to 5.6% for the first three months of the year, the state’s unemployment rate now stands at the same level as it did in November of 2014.  Compared to a year ago, however, the rate is down one-half of a percentage point.  The national unemployment rate was 5.5% in May.  With rates now in the neighborhood of 5 to 6 percent, unemployment is approaching the “full employment” level and significant further declines are likely to materialize slowly.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Although the unemployment rate was unchanged in May, the number of unemployed increased by 673 — the third consecutive monthly increase.  On a more positive note, the number of employed Arkansans was 972 higher than the previous month.  Over the past 19 months, the employment count from the household survey has increased by 51,521.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)


Payroll Employment

Total nonfarm payroll employment was up by 1,300 in May (seasonally adjusted).  Added to the 6,500 increase from the previous month, May’s increase brings employment back to its level of February — offsetting a sharp weather-related drop in March.  Compared to its pre-recession level (from December 2007), Arkansas employment is now up by 2,300 jobs (0.2%).  By comparison, nationwide employment surpassed its pre-recession level in April 2014, and is now up by an additional 2.4%.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The May report showed declines in the major good-producing sectors, along with Transportation & Utilities and Financial Services.  Other service sectors saw employment gains, particularly Education & Health Services.  Since the employment trough of February 2010 only three sectors have shown further net declines:  Mining & Logging, Manufacturing, and Government.  However, many of the sectors that have expanded since then are still registering lower employment totals than before the Great Recession.  Manufacturing and Construction remain the weakest sectors in that regard.  Combined, employment in goods-producing categories (including Mining & Logging) is down 42,600 since December 2007.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

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*Seasonally adjusted data for Arkansas nonfarm payroll employment, reported in a format compatible with the monthly news release from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, can be found hereTable-Seasonally Adjusted NFPE.

Metro Area Employment and Unemployment – April 2015

By , June 3, 2015 12:21 PM

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that unemployment rates in all of Arkansas’ metro areas were down from a year earlier.  Unemployment rates have been falling for well over a year now, and the pace of decline is slowing somewhat.  Consequently, the some of the year-over-year declines in April are smaller than they have been in recent months.  From April 2014 to April 2015, changes in unemployment rates have ranged from -0.2% in Fort Smith to -1.1% in Texarkana.  Statewide, the unemployment rate declined 0.4% over the same period.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

The data are  now fully revised to reflect new estimation methodologies and data sources, as well as changes in the definitions of metropolitan areas.  However, smoothed seasonally adjusted estimates have not yet been updated, so meaningful month-to-month comparisons are not possible.

Payroll Employment
Recent changes in payroll employment have been mixed.  From March to April, both Fort Smith and Jonesboro saw rather sharp increases — up 1.0% and 1.1%, respectively (seasonally adjusted).  Smaller gains were reported for Fayetteville, Little Rock and Memphis.  The other metro areas experienced month-to-month declines.  Over the past 12 months, employment in Pine Bluff has continued to decline and has been basically unchanged in Texarkana.*  Year-over-year net job growth has been positive elsewhere.  Nevertheless, total employment remains below pre-recession levels in 5 of the 80metro areas that include parts of Arkansas.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)ye

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Note:  Payroll data for Texarkana (which now include Little River County) are not presently being published by the BLS on a seasonally adjusted basis.  Payroll employment figures for Texarkana refer to data that have been seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement.

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – April 2015

By , May 27, 2015 10:58 AM

The unemployment rate for Arkansas ticked up by one-tenth of a percent in April to 5.7%.  According to recently revised historical data for the state’s  unemployment rate, it was the first uptick since January 2001.  It should not be too surprising to see a slight increase.  Now that the unemployment rate has fallen closer to sustainable long-run levels, it will become more common to see months where the unemployment rate remains unchanged or displays small (and statistically insignificant) ups and downs.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

As shown in the figures below, this was the second consecutive month in which we’ve seen the number of unemployed increase — up approximately 1,500 in April after an increase of 900 in March.  On the other hand, it was also the 18th consecutive month in which the household survey indicated an increase in the number of employed Arkansans as well.  Since October 2013, the number of employed has increased by over 50,000.  The state’s labor force continues to expand — up by 4,000 in April and up by nearly 42,000 over the past 12 months.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Payroll Employment
Data from the payroll survey also indicated a strong month of job growth, with nonfarm payroll employment expanding by 6,400 jobs in April.   However, much of the strength in April reflected a bounce-back from weather-related weakness in March.  For the first four months of the year, net employment growth has totaled only 4,200.  Novertheless, following strong gains in the second half of 2014, Arkansas employment in April was up 24,600 from the previous year.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Reflecting the improvement in weather conditions, construction was the largest single contributor to the employment increase in April — up 2,400 for the month.  Education and Health Services also showed continued growth, with employment expanding by 1,700.  Increases were also notable in Retail Trade and Manufacturing.  Employment in Leisure and Hospitality services was down slightly for the month.  However, that sector continues to be one of the more rapidly-expanding areas of the economy, with a net gain of 15,600 jobs since the employment trough of February 2010.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

 # # #

*Seasonally adjusted data for Arkansas nonfarm payroll employment, reported in a format compatible with the monthly news release from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, can be found hereTable-Seasonally Adjusted NFPE.

Metro Area Employment and Unemployment – March 2015

By , April 29, 2015 3:56 PM

The latest report on metro area employment and unemployment showed that Arkansas metro areas continue to show dramatic year-over-year declines in unemployment rates.  As shown in the table below, unemployment rates have fallen by more than a full percentage point over the past year in Jonesboro, Memphis, Pine Bluff, and Texarkana.  The smallest decline in unemployment — in the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway metropolitan area — was 0.7%.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

The data are  now fully revised to reflect new estimation methodologies and data sources, as well as changes in the definitions of metropolitan areas.  However, smoothed seasonally adjusted estimates have not yet been updated, so meaningful month-to-month comparisons are not possible.

Payroll Employment
The previously-reported statewide payroll data showed a sharp decline for Arkansas in March.  Although the drop-off appears to be largely weather-related, payroll employment declines were also prevalent across the state’s metro areas.   Employment declined in 6 of the 8 metro areas that include parts of Arkansas, was unchanged in Texarkana, and was up only slightly in Little Rock.  Compared to the previous year, employment has increased in 6 metro areas but is lower in Fort Smith and Pine Bluff.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

The chart below illustrates the divergent patterns of employment growth across the state’s metro areas.  Compared to the fourth quarter of 2007 (before the onset of the 2008-09 recession), employment is up nearly 12% in Jonesboro and 9.5% in Northwest Arkansas.  In the Little Rock metro area, employment has now slightly exceeded it’s pre-recession level.  Hot Springs, Memphis and Fort Smith have shown employment gains over the past three years, but remain below pre-recession peaks.  Employment has continued to follow a downward trend in both Pine Bluff and Texarkana.*  Payroll employment in Pine Bluff is down 13.2% compared to the fourth quarter of 2007.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

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*Note:  Payroll data for Texarkana (which now include Little River County) are not presently being published by the BLS on a seasonally adjusted basis.  Payroll employment figures for Texarkana refer to data that have been seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement.

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – March 2014

By , April 21, 2015 10:43 AM

The latest employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Arkansas Department of Workforce services shows a slight weakening of labor market conditions during March.  Nevertheless, the trends remain positive and March appears to be a weather-related anomaly.

The unemployment rate in Arkansas remained at 5.6% after being revised upward from 5.5% to 5.6% for February.  Nationwide, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.5%.   The number of unemployed Arkansans increased by 777, the first monthly increase since February 2011.  On the other hand, the number of employed was up by 3,890 and the labor force increased 4,667.  This was the 17th consecutive monthly increase in household employment, and the 11th consecutive month of labor force expansion.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Payroll Survey
Data from the Nonfarm payroll survey showed a contraction of jobs in March, with employment down 6,700 after a downward revision of 1,400 to the February total.  As shown in the table below, the bulk of the job losses were in construction.  According to the news release from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, the decline in construction took place “as many projects were temporarily shut down due to weather conditions.”  Indeed the National Weather service reported that “It was a near record wet March, with a snowstorm to start the month and severe weather picking up toward the end.

In addition to construction, employment in Retail Trade was also down on a seasonally adjusted basis, reflecting a slower-than-usual start to the spring shopping season.  Notable monthly declines also appeared in the employment data for Professional & Business Services and Leisure & Hospitality Services.  Compared to a year ago, however, employment is up in every major sector except mining and logging, with a total employment increase of 22,200 (1.9%).

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

With the March decline, Arkansas payroll employment dropped back below it’s pre-recession level, after having slightly exceeded that level in February.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

# # #

*Seasonally adjusted data for Arkansas nonfarm payroll employment, reported in a format compatible with the monthly news release from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, can be found hereTable-Seasonally Adjusted NFPE.

Metro Area Unemployment and Employment – February 2015

By , April 8, 2015 3:38 PM

New data on metro area employment and unemployment came out this morning.  As we reported last month, the metro area data are being revised significantly, taking into account new methodology and source information, as well as new definitions for many of the metro areas themselves.  Final revisions will not come out until April 21, so the current data remain “provisional.”

The news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that “unemployment rates were lower in February than a year earlier in 366 of the 387 metropolitan areas.”  All eight of the metro areas that include parts of Arkansas were included in that total.  As shown in the table below, the unemployment rate has fallen by over a full percentage point in every metro area except Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers.  The largest decline has taken place in Pine Bluff — down from 9.6 a year ago to 7.9 in February 2015.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

The calculation of smoothed seasonally-adjusted metro area unemployment rates has been discontinued until after the final data revisions are complete, so we have no official information on seasonally-adjusted rates.  Lacking that information, it is not possible to make meaningful month-to-month comparisons.

Payroll Data
Nonfarm payroll employment was up by 0.4% in Arkansas for the month of February, but the gains were not evenly dispersed across the state.  Four metro areas saw increases, while four saw decreases.  Compared to the previous February, however, seven of the state’s eight metro areas have seen increases in payroll employment, with only Pine Bluff continuing to see a downward drift.  Compared to the national employment trough of February 2010, only Pine Bluff and Texarkana have experienced net decreases.  Three metro areas now have higher levels of employment than before the 2008-09 recession, Fayetteville, Jonesboro, and Little Rock.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

(Note:  With the redefinition of the Texarkana MSA, seasonal adjustment factors have been deemed unreliable for now and no seasonally-adjusted data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The data for Texarkana in the table above have been seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement.)

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – February 2015

By , March 27, 2015 10:24 AM

Today’s report on state level employment and unemployment was another in a recent series of upbeat reports.  The headline was another downtick in the unemployment rate, from 5.6% to 5.5%.  Over the past 12 months, the unemployment rate in Arkansas has fallen by one full percentage point.  The national unemployment rate in February was also 5.5%.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The underlying components of the unemployment rate–derived from the household survey–continue to trend in positive directions.  The number of unemployed Arkansans was estimated to have declined by 858 from January to February, and has fallen by more than 10,000 over the past 12 months.  Meanwhile, the number of employed increased by 5,750 for the month and is up by nearly 43,000 since February of 2014.  The strong gains in employment have also driven labor force participation higher.  The labor force was up by 4,900 for the month.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Payroll Employment:
Total nonfarm payroll employment was up by 5,200 for the month (seasonally adjusted).  The gains were largely attributable to increases in two service sector categories:  Professional & Business Services (+2,100) and Leisure & Hospitality Services (+3,100).  Changes in other sectors were mixed.  Manufacturing employment showed a disappointing loss of jobs (-1,800), but construction employment was up for the fourth consecutive month.   From February 2014 to February 2015, total payroll employment has increased by 29,400 — a growth rate of 2.5%.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES)

Since the employment trough of February 2010, total payroll employment has increased by 61,100 and is now above the pre-recession employment level by 3,700 jobs (0.3%).  By comparison, total employment for the U.S. in February was 2.0% above pre-recession levels.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

 # # #

*Seasonally adjusted data for Arkansas nonfarm payroll employment, reported in a format compatible with the monthly news release from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, can be found hereTable-Seasonally Adjusted NFPE.

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