Arkansas Personal Income – 2008:Q1

By , June 22, 2018 3:25 PM

The latest data on Arkansas personal income indicated a disappointingly slow growth rate in the first quarter of the year.  Total personal income increased at an annual rate of only 2.5% from 2017:Q1 to 2018:Q2, compared to the national average rate of 4.3%.*  Only one state registered a lower growth rate (Idaho at 2.0%).

Personal income growth was lower than the U.S. average in nearly every major component.  Farm income was particularly weak, declining at a 35.5% rate relative to the fourth quarter.  Farm income is a fairly small component of total personal income, however, and can be highly variable from quarter to quarter.  All components of Earnings by Place of Work increased at lower rates than the national figures, with Proprietors’ income declining at a 5.5% rate in Arkansas while increasing at a rate of nearly 5% nationally.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The only major component for which Arkansas outpaced the nation was Dividends, interest and rent (DIR).  Although the data represent only one calendar quarter, the 2018:Q2 growth rates contribute to an ongoing trend of divergence between DIR, on the one hand, and Wages & salaries (WS) on the other.  As illustrated in the figure below, since the beginning of 2010 the DIR component of personal income has grown far more rapidly than total personal income — and has grown more rapidly in Arkansas than in the rest of the nation.  From 2010:Q1 through 2018:Q1 the growth rates for Arkansas and the U.S. were 7.5% and 5.7%, respectively.  In contrast, WS growth over the same period has averaged only 3.2% in Arkansas while growing a a rate of 4.1% nationally.  So not only is DIR growth far exceeding WS growth, but the gap is wider in Arkansas than elsewhere across the nation.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The upshot of this pattern of growth is that wage and salary growth has only accounted for 37.7% of total personal income growth in Arkansas since 2010, while it has accounted for over half of total income growth nationwide.  In contrast, the DIR component accounts for about one-quarter of total personal income growth nationwide, but accounts for over 35% of Arkansas’ income growth.  So although the growth rate of total personal income in Arkansas has closely tracked the national average for the past eight years (at just over 4.0% annually), a far greater share of the income gains has gone to owners of capital, rather than to wage earners.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Author’s calculations

In recent quarters, the disparity between DIR and WS growth appeared to be dissipating. The strength of DIR in the first quarter might be just a blip in the data, or it may indicate a resurgence of rapid growth in that income component going forward.  We’ll continue to monitor the growth rates of these income components as more information becomes available.

# # #

*In the news release that came out yesterday, the BEA initiated a practice of expressing quarterly personal income growth in terms of annualized percentage changes (as is done for GDP and other economic aggregates).  We will henceforth follow that convention here as well.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – May 2018

By , June 15, 2018 1:26 PM

The May data on employment and unemployment in Arkansas continues to suggest that we’ve been through a period of weakening in the state’s labor markets.  However, the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also included some encouraging signs of of improvement.

The unemployment rate was unchanged for the third consecutive month.  With recent declines in the national unemployment rate, the unemployment rates for both Arkansas and the U.S. stand at the historically low rate of 3.8%.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

However, recent weakness in employment is evident in the components of the unemployment rate.  Data from the household survey shows that the number of employed Arkansans was down for the eighth consecutive month and has now dropped below 1.3 million for the first time since early 2017.  The weakness in employment also shows through to labor force participation, which has also declined for eight months.  One bright spot is the number of unemployed, which ticked downward slightly in May after creeping upward during the previous four months.  With the most recent observation included, the trend suggests that the number of unemployed is fairly stable at just over 50,000.

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

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

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payroll employment showed a healthy gain of 3,700 in May (seasonally adjusted*).  The fact that the year-over-year increase in payrolls is only 6,600 demonstrates that the May increase represents an acceleration from the recent pace of job growth.  Over the first five months of 2018, payroll employment has increased by 6,200 — more than offsetting the 4,900 decline reported for the final two months of 2017.  Nevertheless, employment in Arkansas is expanding at a substantially slower pace than the national average.  In percentage terms, Arkansas payroll employment has increased by 0.5% over the past 12 months, while national payrolls have expanded at a 1.6% pace.

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

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

The breakdown of employment growth by sector shows some continued weakness in service-providing sectors with monthly declines in Financial Services, Professional & Business Services, and Other Services.  Employment in Leisure and Hospitality Services was unchanged from the previous month and has shown no significant growth over the past year.  On the other hand, Education and Health Services showed a strong gain of 1,200 jobs in May, primarily in the Health Care and Social Assistance component.  Another encouraging figure is the growth of Manufacturing employment — up by 800 jobs in May and up 3,500 from a year ago.  In fact, growth in Manufacturing employment accounts for over half of the state’s job growth over the past 12 months.  Both the Durables and Non-durables components of manufacturing employment have been increasing, up by 1,200 and 2,300 jobs, respectively.

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 here:  Table-Seasonally Adjusted NFPE.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Arkansas Taxable Sales – 2018:Q1

By , June 6, 2018 1:00 PM

Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) declined by 1.5% in the first quarter of 2018 (seasonally adjusted), but remained 2.9% higher than a year earlier.  Derived from data on Arkansas Sales and Use tax collections, ATS is a measure of statewide consumer spending.  Another important component of consumer spending – gasoline purchases – was boosted by higher prices in the first quarter:  On average, gasoline prices were $2.33 per gallon in Arkansas, up from $2.24 in the fourth quarter of 2017.  Total spending on gasoline was up 2.2%.  As a result, Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) experienced a smaller decline than did ATS – down 1.4% in the first quarter.  Compared to a year earlier, ATSIG was up 3.1%.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Since the trough of the “great recession” in 2009:Q2, both ATS and ATSIG have increased at annual rates of 2.9%.  After adjusting for inflation of 1.6% per year, “real” taxable sales have increased at a rate of only 1.3%.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

# # #

Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) is calculated by the Arkansas Economic Development Institute to serve as a timely proxy for Arkansas retail sales. The series is derived from sales and use tax data, adjusting for the relative timing of tax collections and underlying sales, changes in tax laws, and seasonal patterns in the data.  Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) incorporates data on the state motor fuel tax and gasoline prices from the Oil Price Information Service. A spreadsheet of the monthly and quarterly data is available here: Arkansas Taxable Sales 2018:Q1 (Excel file).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Metro Area Employment and Unemployment – April 2018

By , May 30, 2018 4:43 PM

Unemployment rates in Arkansas metropolitan areas showed mixed changes in April, increasing by one-tenth of a percent in Fort Smith, Little Rock and Memphis and declining by one-tenth in Hot Springs and Pine Bluff.  Since April of 2017 unemployment rates are up slightly in most of Arkansas’ metro areas.

(Annual changes from not-seasonally adjusted data, monthly changes using seasonally adjusted estimates.) Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

(*Annual changes using not-seasonally adjusted data, monthly changes using Seasonally Adjusted Metropolitan Area Estimates.)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Statewide, the unemployment rate was unchanged in April at 3.8%.  Metro area unemployment rates in April ranged from a low of 2.9% in Northwest Arkansas to a high of 5.3% in Pine Bluff.

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

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

 

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payroll employment was unchanged or declining in April for most of Arkansas metro areas.  The exceptions were the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metro area (+0.2%) and Texarkana (+0.3%).  Over the past 12 months, employment growth has exceeded 2% in both Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Arkansas (Jonesboro).  Memphis, Little Rock and Texarkana are up about 1% over the same period, while Hot Springs, Fort Smith and Pine Bluff have seen zero or negative growth.

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

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

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – April 2018

By , May 18, 2018 10:51 AM

The latest data on state-level employment and unemployment continue to suggest slowing job growth in Arkansas.

The unemployment rate was unchanged from March at 3.8% — up 0.2 percentage points from a year ago.  In the household survey, the number of employed was down for the seventh consecutive month and the number of employed was up for the fifth month in a row.  The changes are small (and not statistically significant), but they suggest a clear slowdown in labor market growth compared to a year ago.

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

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

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payroll employment declined by 1,500 March to April (seasonally adjusted).  The number of employed in both the Retail Trade and Leisure & Hospitality sectors was up in April, but the increases were not as large as typically expected for a March-to-April change.  Consequently, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, employment in those two sectors led the list of seasonally-adjusted job losers for the month.  Sectors adding jobs included Professional & Business Services, Other Services, and Manufacturing.  Over the past 12 months, Professional and Business Services and Manufacturing have been leading the way on job growth.  In Manufacturing, the employment gains have come from both durable and nondurable goods sectors.

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

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

As illustrated in the figure below, both sources of employment data for Arkansas are indicating a growth slowdown compared to the trends of 2014-2016.  With unemployment remaining at the historically low rate of 3.8 percent, it is perhaps not surprising that ongoing job growth is experiencing a slowdown.  But while the pace of employment expansion is slowing, there is no indication of a significant contraction.  Rather, it appears that employment in some service-providing sectors is stabilizing after a period of relatively rapid growth.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Arkansas Home Sales – 2018:Q1

By , May 4, 2018 4:22 PM

The Arkansas Realtors® Association released new home sales figures for February and March this week.  February’s sales total was up 9.1% over the previous year, but March’s figure was 3.4% lower than in 2017.   Although the March statistics might appear to represent a sharp slowdown, monthly ups and downs can be deceptively volatile–particularly in comparison to previous-year figures.  As shown in the figure below, home sales exhibited an uncharacteristic surge in March 2017–up more than 16% from 2016.  This surge was followed by an atypical seasonal dip in April.  So when it comes to measuring year-over-year growth in March 2018, we’re beginning from an unusually high base.  The March 2017 surge and subsequent slowdown in April has two implications:  (1.) it is likely that some of the strength in March 2017 was the result of accelerated closing dates that “stole” growth from April, and (2.) growth in home sales in April 2018 is likely to look fairly strong, being measured from an unusually low base period in 2017.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

As a way of adjusting for some of the month-to-month variability in not-seasonally adjusted data, the figure below shows quarterly totals that have been adjusted for seasonal variation.  With these modifications, the upward trend in home sales from 2013 through 2017 is evident.  Although home sales in 2018:Q1 proceeded at a slower seasonally-adjusted rate than the previous quarter, they were higher than in the first quarter of 2017.  The cumulative year-to-date figures provided by the ARA indicate that first quarter sales were up 2.3% from the previous year.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonal adjustment by the Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonal adjustment by the Arkansas Economic Development Institute

The pace of home sales is now well beyond the peak recorded prior to the housing “meltdown” of 2007, but there is still room for further expansion.  As long as mortgage rates do not rise too quickly, we are expecting continued growth in home sales over the remainder of the year.  In fact, increases in mortgage rates might provide a temporary boost to home sales as prospective buyers rush to get in on the relatively low rates.  Higher borrowing costs are expected to contribute to somewhat lower home sales in the future, but perhaps not until 2019.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Arkansas GDP – 2017:Q4

By , May 4, 2018 3:43 PM

In the latest report on state-level GDP, Arkansas registered an increase of 2.5% (seasonally adjusted annual rate).  The fourth quarter increase was slightly lower than the comparable national-average figure of 2.7%, and ranked #26 among the 50 states.  The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that some of the key contributors to GDP growth in the fourth quarter were mining and construction (particularly in the Texas, the fastest-growing state); as well as durable goods manufacturing and professional, scientific and technical services.  On the other hand, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting decreased for the fifth consecutive quarter, dampening growth in the Plains states in particular.

GDP2018Q4-map

As shown in the table below, many of the sectors that showed notable growth nationwide also contributed to Arkansas’ overall growth rate.  In addition, nondurable goods manufacturing played a role in boosting Arkansas’ relative growth and agriculture, etc., made a positive contribution.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Data Revisions
Today’s release also included revisions to previously published data for 2014:Q1 to 2017:Q3.  The newly updates, which incorporate new and revised source data, resulted in a considerable reduction in Arkansas’ reported growth over the past year.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Metro Area Employment and Unemployment – March 2018

By , May 3, 2018 5:10 PM

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on metro area employment and unemployment this week, including the long-awaited revisions of the unemployment data.  For Arkansas metro areas, the revisions mirrored the statewide revisions that were released in late February:  Unemployment rates were revised lower for late 2016 and into early 2017, revised higher for much of the remainder of 2017, ending the calendar-year 2017 at about the same place as the originally published figures [see figure].

New data for March showed that unemployment rates were generally up slightly from a year earlier.   The unemployment rate in Fort Smith has increased only 0.1 percentage points since March 2017, while the rate in Hot Springs is up by 0.6 percentage points.  The only exception is Memphis, where the unemployment rate is 0.7 percentage points lower than a year earlier.

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

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

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates edged up slightly from February to March.  Rates were up 0.1 percentage point in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Jonesboro and Little Rock.  Larger increases were registered in Hot Springs, Pine Bluff and Texarkana.  The unemployment rate in Memphis was unchanged.

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

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

The figure below shows the paths of unemployment rates from January 2015 through March 2018.  Although rates have tended to moves slightly higher in recent months, they have generally remained little changed after falling near their current levels in early 2016.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payroll employment increased statewide from February to March, but declined in Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, and Texarkana.  Compared to a year earlier, payroll employment is up about 2% in Northwest Arkansas, Jonesboro and Memphis.  Employment in Central Arkansas is up 1.4%.  Other parts of the state have seen slower growth:  employment levels in Pine Bluff and Texarkana are essentially unchanged from a year earlier, while Fort Smith and Hot Springs have experienced declines.

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

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

The figure below illustrates the paths of nonfarm payroll employment since 2007 (quarterly averages).  Both the Northeast and Northwest regions of the state have experienced consistent growth since the end of the “Great Recession” and the Little Rock metro area reached net positive territory in 2015.   Employment in other Arkansas metro areas — including Hot Springs, Texarkana, Fort Smith and Pine Bluff — remain below their levels of a decade earlier.

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

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

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – March 2018

By , April 20, 2018 11:52 AM

Arkansas’ unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8% in March.  The number of unemployed inched up by 549 and is now up 939 over the first three months of the year.  The number of employed declined for the sixth consecutive month, falling by 1,291 in March.  Over the past six months, this measure of employment is down by 5,741.  As a result of the declines in the number of employed, the labor force has also been trending downward in recent months, falling by 4,893 since September of last year.

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

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

Payroll Employment
In contrast to the household employment measure, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 2,600 in March (seasonally adjusted).  Moreover, the employment total for February was revised upward by 1,800.  Increases were reported for most sectors, including Construction and Manufacturing.  Slight declines were registered for Wholesale Trade and Information Services, but most other service-providing sectors increased from the previous month (with the exception of Other Services, which was down by 800 jobs).  Compared a a year ago, total employment is up by 4,500 — about 0.4%.

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

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

The payroll statistics are generally considered the more accurate of the two employment surveys, and household employment has shown some particularly unusual patterns over the past two years.  Accordingly, the declines registered in the household survey should not be taken as a signal of a significant employment contraction.  Nevertheless, the fact that both surveys are showing weakness compared to a year ago does seem to indicate at least a slowdown in employment growth.

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 here:  Table-Seasonally Adjusted NFPE.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Metro Area Employment and Unemployment – February 2018

By , April 4, 2018 1:12 PM

New data on employment and unemployment was released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  The BLS database for metro area unemployment rates and related measures is not yet updated to reflect annual data revisions, so we are limited to year-to-year comparisons of not seasonally adjusted figures.  As shown in the table below, unemployment rates in Arkansas metro areas have generally stabilized over the past year.  From February 2017 to February 2018, unemployment rates were unchanged statewide, as well as in Fayetteville and Fort Smith.  With the exception of Memphis, other MSAs that include parts of Arkansas showed year-to-year changes of only 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points.

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

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

Nonfarm payroll employment was unchanged or higher in most of Arkansas’ metro areas in February.  Fayetteville, Jonesboro and Pine Bluff each registered increases of 0.3%.  The only metro area to experience a monthly decline was a Little Rock.  Compared to February 2017, employment is up in all metro areas except Fort Smith.

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

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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Panorama Theme by Themocracy

AWSOM Powered