Posts tagged: Unemployment rate

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)

—–

*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.

Metro Area Unemployment and Employment – January 2015

By , March 20, 2015 4:41 PM

New data on metro area employment and unemployment came out today.  The metro data were subject to the same data revisions that we’ve seen for the state-level data already.   The household employment and unemployment data were estimated using the “new generation of time-series models,”  and updated to incorporate updated estimation inputs and population controls, and the payroll data were revised to reflect the annual benchmarking process.  Just to make it more complicated, today’s report incorporated new geographic delineations for metropolitan statistical areas.   Three metro areas in Arkansas were affected by the new definitions:  Fort Smith, Memphis, and Texarkana  (see endnote*).  Moreover, the revision process is not over:  The not seasonally adjusted data from 2010 forward will be comprehensively revised again on April 21, and smoothed seasonally-adjusted metropolitan area estimates will not be available until after that revision.

Today’s report began with the summary statement that unemployment rates in January were lower than a year earlier in 339 of the nation’s 387 metro areas.  All eight of the metro areas that cover parts of Arkansas were included in this total.  As shown in the table below, unemployment rates in Arkansas have fallen by varying magnitudes, ranging from -0.2 percentage points in Memphis to 1.4 percentage points in Pine Bluff.  As of January 2015. five metro areas had unemployment rates lower than the statewide average of 6.5% (not seasonally adjusted).

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

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

The revisions to metro area unemployment rates were generally not substantial.  As shown in the next table, revisions to the most recent month previously reported (December 2014) were quite minor, even for the metro areas with new geographic delineations.  The revisions had somewhat larger impacts on previous months’ observations, affecting the December 2013-December 2014 year-over-year changes.  Generally speaking, unemployment rates at the end of 2013 were revised downward, reducing the magnitude of unemployment declines measured over the course of 2014.

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

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

 

Payroll Employment
The data for nonfarm payroll employment incorporate new metro area delineations, as well as the annual comprehensive benchmark revisions.  The latest data and growth rates are summarized in the following table:

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

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES).   Note:  Data for Texarkana are not presently available on a seasonally adjusted basis and have been seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement.

From December 2014 to January 2015, employment dropped by 1.5% in Pine Bluff, and by 0.1% in Fayetteville and Fort Smith.  Other metro areas around the state saw month-over-month gains.  Compared to the previous January, employment in all metro areas except Pine Bluff have seen increases, with the largest gains in Jonesboro and Fayetteville.  Three metro areas are now showing higher levels of payroll employment than before the recession.

To get a sense of how the payroll data revisions affected recent employment growth, the following set of figures compares the revised data to previously published statistics.  In several metro areas, we see the same pattern as in the statewide data revisions; namely, a downward revision to employment growth in late 2013 and a stronger pick-up of growth in 2014.  The data for Northwest Arkansas show a substantial upward revision over the course of 2014 with the cumulative impact measuring nearly 8,000 additional jobs (+3.6%) counted by December 2014.  At the other extreme, the data for Pine Bluff were revised downward, with the cumulative impact amounting to nearly 1,000 fewer jobs (-2.6%) than previously estimated at the end of last year.  Data for Fort Smith, Memphis and Pine Bluff show level shifts associated with the revised metro area delineations.*

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

*Note:  Fort Smith, Memphis, and Texarkana were subject to revised geographic boundaries (OMB Bulletin No. 13-01).  Fort Smith was redefined to exclude Franklin County, AR;  Memphis was revised to include Benton County, MS; and Texarkana’s delineation was expanded to include Little River County, AR.

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – January 2015

By , March 17, 2015 1:28 PM

With the data revisions for 2014 complete, the Bureau of Labor Statistics published the first state-level employment data for 2015.  From the household survey, the unemployment rate ticked down one-tenth of a percent to 5.6%.  As described in a previous post, some of the recent sharp swings in the household employment data were recently muted by data revisions.  But the January data showed an uncharacteristically large surge in employment, similar to those that were showing up in the recent data before revision:  From December to January, the number of employed was up by more than 9,000.   The number of unemployed was essentially unchanged, so the labor force figures also showed a sharp increase.

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

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

At 5.6%, January’s unemployment rate in Arkansas was one-tenth of a percent lower than the national average for January, and one-tenth higher than the national average for February.  Arkansas’ unemployment rate continues to closely track that of the U.S. as a whole.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Payroll Survey
The payroll data are similarly showing generally positive trends.  The not-seasonally adjusted data reported by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services showed a sharp decline for the month, but that is typical of the change from December to January as the demand for holiday-related workers wanes.  After taking account of typical seasonal fluctuations, the seasonally-adjusted data showed an increase in Arkansas Nonfarm Payroll Employment of 2,000 jobs.  In the goods producing sectors, Manufacturing employment was down 1,800 but Construction employment was up 2,300.  Changes were mixed across service sectors:  Employment in Professional and business services was up for the month; Leisure and Hospitality employment was down slightly.

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

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

Today’s release of Nonfarm Payroll Employment Data incorporated the annual benchmark revisions (more on that below).  In the context of the revised data, the year-over-year growth of Arkansas employment amounts to 26,800.  Gains were widespread, with only slight declines in Mining, Information Services and Government employment.  Since the employment trough of February 2010, the Arkansas economy has recovered 56,400 of the jobs that were lost during the recession.  The composition of employment in Arkansas has changed considerably over the past seven years:  Manufacturing employment has contracted by over 32,000 jobs, while job growth has been concentrated in service sectors.

As of January, total nonfarm payroll employment was 1,000 jobs (0.1%) lower than the pre-recession levels (December 2007).  For the U.S. as a whole, employment surpassed its pre-recession level in April 2014.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Benchmark Revisions
The revisions to payroll employment data were about as expected:  The job growth in the latter part of 2013 that had been previously reported was largely revised away.  However, the new data show stronger growth in the first part of 2014 than the previously-published data.  As a result, revisions to recent statistics were relatively minor.  As of December, the revised data show only 3,100 fewer jobs than the pre-revision statistics.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The table below summarizes the impact of the revision on various sectors.  Because the data for late 2013 were revised downward far more than the data for end of 2014, year-over-year growth in total employment is considerably stronger in the revised data.  This basically reflects the re-estimation of the timing of job growth:  More of the recent growth is now estimated to have taken place in 2014 instead of earlier.  The revisions to various sectors are mixed.  Levels of employment were revised downward for Construction, Wholesale Trade, Education and Health Services, Leisure and Hospitality Services and Government.  But again, the change in the estimated timing of job growth matters for the growth rates of the sectors.  The revised data generally show slower growth over the past year for goods-producing sectors, as well as for Education and Health Services.  The higher growth rate in total job growth is reflected in most of the other service sectors.

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.

Revised Unemployment Data for Arkansas

By , March 11, 2015 1:20 PM

Next week we will see revised data for Arkansas payroll employment.  Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has already released new, revised data for household employment and unemployment–including the unemployment rate.  This revision is more substantial than the routine annual re-estimation process, representing the implementation of a “new generation of time-series models.”  For Arkansas, the data revisions smooth out some of the puzzling fluctuations in employment and labor force over the past couple of years, while maintaining some of the overall trends that were apparent in the previously published data.

The chart below shows the effect of the revisions on the Arkansas unemployment rate.  As previously estimated and published, the unemployment rate reached 7.9% during the 2008-09 recession, peaking at 8.1% in 2011.  The revised data show higher rates of unemployment during the recession and its aftermath, with a peak rate of 8.4% in early 2011.  The revised data show a somewhat smoother path of recovery from 2011 through 2014, but both series show and end-of-year unemployment rate of 5.7%.

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

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

The revisions to the unemployment rate are based on revised estimates of employment, unemployment, and labor force.  Over the past few months, the employment and labor force statistics have shown unusually large and somewhat inexplicable fluctuations.  As shown in the next set of charts, much of that volatility was revised away.  What remains is a gradual decline in employment running from the end of 2011 through late 2013, followed by a period of recovery during 2014.  The nearly two-year decline in employment totaled nearly 50,000 workers, with the subsequent recovery adding back about 30,000 by the end of 2014.  A similar pattern of revisions affect the labor force estimates.  On the number of unemployed, the revised data show more unemployed workers than previously estimated in 2010 and 2011, but with a larger and more persistent decline in 2013 and 2014.

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

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

Before the revision, the data were showing that Arkansas’ unemployment rate moved above the U.S. average during 2013 and remained persistently higher throughout 2014 (see here, for example).  With the more monotonic downward path for unemployment in the revised statistics, Arkansas’ rate has more closely tracked the national average.  As of December 2014, the unemployment rate for Arkansas was 5.7% — one tenth of a percentage higher than the national rate.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – December 2014

By , January 27, 2015 12:43 PM

The December report on state employment and unemployment showed continuing improvement in Arkansas labor markets.  For the fourth month in a row, the number of unemployed declined and the number of employed increased sharply.  In fact, the household survey shows a three month employment gain of over 29,000 — an unprecedented rate of increase.  As a result, the state’s total labor force has expanded by over 24,000 in the past three months, and the unemployment rate has declined by one-half percentage point to 5.7%.

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

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

The volatility of statistics from the household survey has been particularly large in recent months.  When the annual averages are published on March 4, the labor force and unemployment data will be revised using a new generation of time-series models.  The updated statistics will also will also incorporate updated estimation inputs and population controls from the Census Bureau.  It will be interesting to see how these revisions affect the unusual patterns of the past year or so.  In the meantime, the existing data are clearly indicating improving conditions over the second half of 2014.

Payroll Survey
The improvement seen in the statistics from the household survey are reinforced by recent observations of employment growth from the payroll survey.  The report for November shows an increase of 4,300 jobs for the month (seasonally adjusted), with a 12-month cumulative increase of 22,600.  Assuming that these figures are sustained after the upcoming benchmark revisions (see below), December’s report marked a milestone:  Since the employment trough of February 2010 the Arkansas economy has now added more than 57,000 jobs, bringing total employment to a point slightly higher than it was before the recession officially hit the economy.

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

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

The December employment increase was largely attributable to a gain in Leisure & Hospitality Services.  The not-seasonally adjusted data featured by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services showed a slight decline in this category,  but the decline was far less than would be expected in a typical December — hence, the gain in seasonally-adjusted employment.  Similar seasonal factors affected Education and Health, and State & Local Government (in both cases, due to winter break at schools).

Over the past twelve months, payroll employment has increased 22,600, with notable gains in two sectors that have been slow to recover from the great recession:  Construction and Manufacturing.  Gains in Education & Health Services and Leisure & Hospitality Services also contributed to the overall year-over-year increase.

Upcoming Benchmark Revisions
When the next payroll data release comes out on March 17, the payroll data will be revised to incorporate new 2014 benchmarks.  We had previously estimated that the revised data will show significantly weaker job growth over the past two years — with downward revisions expected to be in the range of 9 to 10 thousand jobs.  Good news has arrived since those forecasts:  The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages  statistics for the second quarter of 2014 indicates a sharp upward revision to the current data are in order.  As a result, while we are still anticipating downward revisions to the data for the second half of 2013, more recent data now appear to be more closely aligned with currently published data.  Hence, as shown in the figure below, the revised statistics will show that sluggish job growth prevailed through much of 2011 through 2013, but that growth accelerated sharply in 2014.  It is still possible that the revisions will incorporate QCEW data from the third quarter as well, but those data are not yet available to the public and so are not incorporated in our current expectations.

Sources:  Bureau of Labor Statistics; Institute for Economic Advancement.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Institute for Economic Advancement.

After revision, our best estimate is that total payroll employment for the latter half of 2014 will be unaffected.  Nevertheless, some of the components of payroll employment are likely to show revised growth patterns.  The set of figures below illustrates the nature (and variety) of some of the expected revisions, using quarterly averaged data.

Sources:  Bureau of Labor Statistics; Institute for Economic Advancement.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Institute for Economic Advancement.

These expected revisions are, at this point, only estimates.  Especially when it comes to the disaggregated sector-by-sector data, the new figures may differ from these projections.  And although some sectors are likely to experience some downward revisions in the level of employment, the trend over time is positive for the most part — with or without the revisions.

# # #

*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 & Employment – November 2014

By , December 31, 2014 8:00 AM

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on metro area unemployment and employment yesterday.  The report noted that unemployment rates in November were down compared to the previous year in 341 of the 372 metropolitan areas in the nation.  The eight metro areas that contain portions of Arkansas were all included in that total.  Not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates declined by more than a full percentage in each of the state’s metro areas over the past 12 months, with the largest decline being a 2.7 percent drop in Pine Bluff.

In the recent statewide unemployment report, Arkansas’ unemployment rate dropped by three-tenths of a percent in November (seasonally adjusted).  Comparable figures for the state’s metro areas do not uniformly reflect this dramatic decline.  From October to November, data from the Smoothed Seasonally Adjusted Metropolitan Area Estimates show declines of only one-tenth in Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Jonesboro and Memphis.  Texarkana was down two-tenths and Pine Bluff was down three-tenths.  Unemployment rates in Fayetteville and Little Rock were unchanged.  Although the magnitude of unemployment rate declines were smaller for most metro areas than the statewide average, the underlying components were all generally encouraging.  The number of unemployed was down in all eight metro areas, and the number of employed was higher in all except Memphis.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 0.5% statewide in November, but the gains were not reflected evenly across the state’s metro areas.  In a fact, payroll employment was down in both Hot Springs, Memphis and Pine Bluff.  Employment in Texarkana was unchanged and Little Rock saw only a slight increase.  Compared to a year ago, employment has declined in Fort Smith and Pine Bluff, but has increased in the state’s other metro areas.  Only Jonesboro has surpassed the nationwide growth rate of 2.0%.  In fact, at 2.9%, Jonesboro is the only metro area in the state to be growing faster than the statewide average of 1.5%.  Compared to pre-recession levels of seven years go, employment has increased in Fayetteville and Jonesboro, but is still lagging behind in most other metro areas.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – November 2014

By , December 19, 2014 11:55 AM

The latest monthly report on state employment and unemployment adds to recent evidence of a dramatic improvement in labor market conditions in Arkansas.   The headline statistic showed that the unemployment rate dropped 3-tenths of a percent from 6.1% in October (revised) to 5.8% in November.  With that decline, the unemployment rate in Arkansas is now equal to the national unemployment rate.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The underlying details of household employment all pointed to improving conditions:  The number of unemployed Arkansans declined by nearly 2,200, following a decline of 1,900 in October.  The number of employed increased by 10,300 — the largest monthly increase on record (breaking the record increase of 9,400 for October).   As a result, the labor force has expanded dramatically over the past two months, erasing a large portion of the decline from earlier in the year.  In fact, this is the third consecutive month of strong gains in household employment and labor force participation.

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

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

Payroll Employment
The survey of employers also showed strong job growth in November.  Overall nonfarm payroll employment increased by 7,600 (seasonally adjusted).  As shown in the table below, increases were present in nearly all sectors of the economy (with the exception of Information Services, a relatively small sector).  Gains were particularly prominent in good-producing sectors:  Manufacturing employment was up 1,300 and Construction employment gained 1,400.  Gains in seasonally-adjusted Wholesale and Retail trade indicate that seasonal hiring for the holiday season are larger that would typically be expected.

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

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

Since the employment low-point of February 2010, total employment has increased by over 51,000 and now stands at only 5,700 less than pre-recession levels.  As noted previously, the annual benchmark revisions that will be released next year are likely to show a downward adjustment to the data.  After the expected revision, cumulative employment gains since February 2010 are expected to be approximately 41,800, still 15,200 below the pre-recession level.

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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