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Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – December 2019

By , January 24, 2020 11:47 AM

In the final state-level employment report for 2019, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed solid job growth in Arkansas. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6%, with both the household and payroll employment data indicating strong year-end increases. The unemployment rate in Arkansas has remained below 4% for 3-1/2 years now and shows no indication of moving outside the range of 3 to 4%.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Household employment was up 2,483 in December and has increased by 4,714 over the past three months. The number of unemployed increased slightly (+214) in December, adding to small increases from the previous three months. Labor force growth has been strong, with nearly 2,700 added to the labor force in December and nearly 6,400 added over the final three months of the year.

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

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payroll employment surged 5,400 in December, translating to an annualized growth rate of over 5%.  In fact, the news release from the BLS cited Arkansas as one of only three states seeing statistically significant job gains in December. 

Payroll data for November were revised downward by 800, but the year-end employment total was up 18,300 jobs from December of 2018.  In percentage terms that year-over-year change represents a growth rate of 1.4%, roughly matching the U.S. growth rate over the same period.

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

The monthly change in employment was driven primarily by service-sector growth, with Professional & Business Services up 2,800 and Education & Health Services up 2,000. Goods producing sectors showed zero growth, with gains in manufacturing matched by a decline in construction employment.

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

Year-over-year growth job growth was been positive for most sectors. Information Services and Mining & Logging contracted slightly over the course of 2019 and overall government employment was unchanged. Otherwise, job gains emerged in both goods-producing and service-providing sectors. Manufacturing employment was up for the fourth consecutive year. Service sector job growth showed some signs of a slowdown over the summer months but regained momentum toward the end of the year.

Since the current employment-growth trend started (from about December 2013), Arkansas payrolls have expanded by 111,600 jobs, an average annual growth rate of 1.5%.

# # #

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



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Arkansas GDP – 2019:Q3

By , January 10, 2020 11:56 AM

Arkansas’ Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased an an annualized rate of 2.9% in the third quarter of 2019, surpassing the national growth rate of 2.1% and ranking #5 among state GDP growth rates. The third quarter growth rate represents a sharp increase in GDP growth over the second quarter’s 1.8% rate.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Smoothing growth rates over a four-quarter moving average, the latest reading puts Arkansas up 1.9% compared to the third quarter of 2018. Over the same period, U.S. GDP expanded by 2.1%.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The news release from the Bureau of Economic Analysis noted that the leading contributors to GDP growth nationally included nondurable goods manufacturing; retail trade; and professional, scientific, and technical services. As shown in the table below, the first two of these sectors were also significant contributors to Arkansas’ growth rate. In addition, Arkansas GDP was boosted by strong growth in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; as well as management of companies and enterprises. The Agriculture, etc., component itself grew at a rate of 56.2% in the third quarter—the fastest growth rate in the nation for that particular sector.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Sectors experiencing negative growth in the third quarter included finance and insurance, which the BEA noted as a factor subtracting from growth in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Other contracting sectors in Arkansas included utilities, and transportation & warehousing.

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Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – November 2019

By , December 20, 2019 10:44 AM

The latest state-level employment report shows the Arkansas unemployment rate ticking up 0.1 percentage point to 3.6% in November. As is often the case, the reported change was as much rounding error as an actual change (calculated with more accuracy, the unemployment rate was up 0.05%). Moreover the change was nowhere close to being statistically significant.

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

The underlying data from the household survey show that the upward pressure on the unemployment rate over the past three months is the result of increases in the estimated number of unemployed, up 1,690 since August. In November, the number of unemployed rose by 764. The number of employed increased in November as well (+1,439), resulting in a sizable uptick in the labor force total (+2,203).

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics

Payroll Employment
The payroll survey showed that nonfarm payroll employment in Arkansas increased by 1,000 jobs in November (seasonally adjusted). Employment in goods-producing industries was down for the month, but both Construction and Manufacturing employment remain well above their levels of a year ago.

Two service-providing supersectors each added 1,000 jobs or more to the total: Professional & Business Services (almost entirely due to an increase in Administrative & Support Services) and Education & Health Services (mostly due to an increase in Health Care & Social Assistance). Other service-providing sectors subtracted 700 jobs from the total monthly change.

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

Over the past 12 months, payroll employment is up by 15,900, approximately 1.3%. Over the same period, U.S. payroll employment rose 1.5%.

The data from the household and payroll surveys are indicating similar growth trends for total employment. From November 2018 through November 2019, the household measure of employment has risen by approximately 14,000, or 1.1%.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

# # #

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

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Arkansas Personal Income – 2019:Q3

By , December 18, 2019 4:41 PM
Arkansas personal income increased at an annual rate of 6.5% in the third quarter of 2019, outpacing the national growth rate of 3.8%.  Arkansas’ growth rate was the 5th-highest in the nation.

spi1219

Arkansas rapid growth rate was primarily attributable to a surge in farm income. According to today’s news release from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, “Increases in farm earnings were the leading contributors to income growth in each of the ten fastest growing states, reflecting increases in payments associated with the Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program in the third quarter.” The annualized growth rate for Arkansas farm income was 21,772%. The farm component of proprietors’ income was similarly enormous, boosting the growth rate of total proprietors’ income to 81.4%. Dividends, interest and rent (property income) declined at both the state and national levels.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Arkansas personal income growth for the second quarter was also revised up slightly from 4.0% to 4.3% (annual rate), bringing the cumulative four-quarter growth rate to 5.1%. Over the same period, U.S. personal income rose 4.5%.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Total earnings growth for Arkansas was 9.7%, contributing 5.75 percentage points to total personal income growth. Farm income contributed 3.06 percentage points to the total. Among other sectors, large contributors to Arkansas’ earnings growth included Management of Companies and enterprises, and Health care and social assistance.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

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Metro Area Employment and Unemployment – October 2019

By , November 27, 2019 11:30 AM
Unemployment rates in Arkansas metro areas were mostly unchanged in October, ticking up 0.1% in Fort Smith and Pine Bluff and down 0.1% in Texarkana. Fayetteville, Jonesboro and Little Rock remain below the statewide average of 3.5%, while Memphis, Pine Bluff and Texarkana remain above 4%.  Compared to October of 2018, unemployment rates have declined somewhat in Fayetteville, Hot Springs, and Jonesboro.  The rate in Texarkana is down a full percentage point from a year earlier.

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

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

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Smoothed Seasonally Adjusted Metropolitan Area Estimates

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

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payroll employment surged in three metro areas in October:  Fayetteville, Hot Springs, and Jonesboro all saw employment increases of 0.5% for the month.  Fort Smith was unchanged; Little Rock, Memphis, and Texarkana saw slight declines; Pine Bluff was down 0.6%.  Over the past 12 months, employment growth has exceeded the statewide average in Fayetteville, Hot Springs, and Jonesboro.  Employment in Fort Smith has been essentially unchanged not only over the past year, but since the current statewide employment expansion began in late 2013.  Employment in Pine Bluff has been declining consistently and is now 14% lower than it was before the onset of the “Great Recession.”

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

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

 

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Local Area Personal Income – 2018

By , November 26, 2019 11:19 AM
The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released a new set of estimates for Local Area Personal Income for 2018, covering metropolitan areas and counties.

For Arkansas’ metro areas, the data for 2018 largely reflect a continuation of trend rates of growth.  At 6.4%, Northwest Arkansas was the only metro area to exceed the national average growth rate of 5.6%.  Four metro areas (Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Little Rock and Memphis) all had growth rates close to the Arkansas statewide average, while Fort Smith, Pine Bluff and Texarkana grew more slowly.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The new data included revisions to annual figures dating as far back as 1998, but most of the revisions were to more recent data.  As shown in the figure below, the revisions had the effect of lowering recent growth estimates for the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metro area, as well as for Jonesboro and Pine Bluff.  Growth estimates for Arkansas’ other metro areas were revised upward slightly.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

In terms of per capita personal income, the 2018 data for Arkansas metro areas show estimates ranging from $34,554 in Pine Bluff to $65,306 in Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers.  The Northwest Arkansas metro was the only area of the state with per capita income exceeding the national average.

Growth rates of per capita income in 2018 tended to be less dispersed than total personal income growth.  Rapid population growth in the fastest-growing areas and slow population growth in the slower-growing areas tended to dampen the variability of growth rates compared to total personal income.  For example, after accounting for a 1.5% population decline in Pine Bluff, per capita income there expanded by 4.0%.  Rapid population growth in Northwest Arkansas meant that a 6.4% growth rate in total personal income translated to per capita income growth of only 4.3%.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

County Data
Data for Arkansas counties are summarized and illustrated in the table and map below.

Total personal income growth was positive in all counties except three (Madison, Monroe and St. Francis).  Benton County had the fastest growth, at 7.4%.  Population growth, on the other hand, was positive in only 28 of Arkansas 75 counties.  As a result, modest income gains (or even losses) in some areas translated to positive growth in per capita income.  In terms of levels of per capita income, county averages ranged from a low of $27,002 in Lincoln County to $88,890 in Benton County.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

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Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – October 2019

By , November 19, 2019 9:54 AM
Arkansas’ unemployment rate was steady at 3.5% in October.  As previously reported, the national unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a percent to 3.6% for the month.  Underlying statistics from the household survey showed that the number of employed increased by 937 and the number of unemployed rose by 689.  As a result, the labor force increased by 1,626.

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 rose by 2,500 in October (seasonally adjusted).  Compared to a year earlier, payrolls were up by 17,900 – a 1.4% growth rate.  October’s employment increase was dominated by goods producing sectors.  Manufacturing employment was up by 1,900 and construction was up 300.  Service-providing sectors added just 500 net jobs in October.   The largest gains were in Professional and Business Services, up by 1,100.  Slight declines were registered in Retail Trade, Financial Services, Education & Health Services, and Government.

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 consistent with the monthly news release from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, can be found hereTable-Seasonally Adjusted NFPE.

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Arkansas GDP – 2019:Q2

By , November 7, 2019 2:17 PM
The latest report on state-level GDP showed that Arkansas GDP increased at a 1.8% annualized rate in the second quarter of 2019, slightly below the national average rate of 2.0%.  Growth rates ranged from 0.5% in Hawaii to 4.7% in Texas.  Arkansas’ 1.8% was the median growth rate among the 50 states.

qgdpstate1119

Over the past four quarters, Arkansas’ growth rate averaged 1.4%, compared to the national growth rate of 2.3%.  Over the past five years, Arkansas’ growth rate has persistently fallen short of the national average:  From 2014:Q2 through 2019:Q2, GDP growth averaged 2.5% for the U.S. and 1.1% for Arkansas.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The key sectors driving Arkansas’ growth in the second quarter included Agriculture, Utilities, Management of companies, and Professional services.  Government also increased significantly.  Wholesale trade and Transportation & warehousing posted declines, both here in Arkansas and nationwide.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Data Revisions
Today’s report included revisions to the most recent five years of data.  As shown in the figure below, the revisions lowered growth estimates for 2017 and raised growth for 2018.  In particular, the previously-published data had shown growth spikes in 2016:Q4 and 2017:Q2 that were significantly lowered by the revisions.  Growth estimates for 2017:Q4 and 2018:q2 were revised upward from less than 2% to nearly 4% in each of those quarters.  More recently, the originally-reported growth rate of 2.5% in the first quarter of the year was marked down to 1.6%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Cumulatively, the data revisions had the impact of increasing estimated level of activity at the start of the year by $1.25 billion (chained 2012 dollars) — an increase of about 1.1%.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

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Metro Area Employment and Unemployment – September 2019

By , October 30, 2019 12:20 PM
The latest report on metro area employment and unemployment shows negligible changes in the unemployment rates of Arkansas metro areas.  Rates were unchanged from August to September in five of Arkansas’ eight metros, and showed nominal upticks of 0.1% in Hot Springs, Jonesboro, and Little Rock.  Compared to a year earlier, rates are generally unchanged or down slightly (-0.3% in Hot Springs and Jonesboro, for example) with a more substantial decline of 0.9% recorded for Texarkana.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Payroll Employment
Data on nonfarm payroll employment showed mixed changes across Arkansas metro areas.  The Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metro area showed the largest monthly increase, up 0.5%.  Fort Smith, Hot Springs, and Pine Bluff were each down by 0.3%.  Over the most recent 12 months, payroll employment has risen in most of the metros, but is down slightly in Fort Smith and Pine Bluff.

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

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

As shown in the last two columns of the table, and in the chart below, the longer run paths of employment in Arkansas’ metro areas continue to diverge.  The current statewide trend of modest, positive growth began around the start of 2014–a trend that is generally reflected in  growth rates around the state.  Fayetteville and Jonesboro continue to see the highest growth rates, while Fort Smith and Pine Bluff are showing little change over that 5-1/2 year period.

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

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

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Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – September 2019

By , October 18, 2019 12:03 PM
News headlines regarding today’s employment report for Arkansas will probably report that the unemployment rate increased from 3.4% to 3.5%.  In reality, the numbers of employed and unemployed Arkansans were essentially unchanged in September, and the uptick in the reported unemployment rate was due to rounding error.  (Taking the calculation out to the nearest hundredth, the unemployment rate changed from 3.44% to 3.46%.)  No matter how it’s sliced, the change from August to September was not statistically significant.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

In terms of the underlying numbers, the household survey reported a decline of 522 in the number of employed (-0.04%) and an increase of 233 in the number of unemployed (+0.50%).  Compared to a year earlier, the number of employed was up by 12,666 and the number of unemployed down by 3,418.  For the past three months, changes in the totals have been minimal.

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

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

The national unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percent in September, from 3.7% to 3.5%, so the point estimates for unemployment in Arkansas and the U.S. as a whole are now identical.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Payroll Employment
The report on nonfarm payroll employment showed an increase of 1,600 employees from August to September (seasonally adjusted)*.  Notable gains were reported for Construction, Education & Health Services and Leisure & Hospitality Services.  The increase in Education & Health Services was primarily attributable to the Health Care & Social Assistance sector.  The only notable monthly decline was in Manufacturing, which was down by 1,300.  Month-to-month changes in manufacturing employment have been somewhat volatile this year, but the trend is still positive, up by 1,900 from September 2018.

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

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

The seasonally adjusted statistics show a year-over-year increase in total employment of 16,700—approximately 1.3%.  Over the same period, nonfarm payroll employment for the entire U.S. increased by 1.4%.

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

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

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 *As is always the case in September, the not-seasonally adjusted statistics showed a sharp increase in employment in Education as well as State & Local Government, attributable to teachers going back to class at private and public educational institutions.  The seasonally adjusted figures reported here account for the recurring nature of that predictable change.

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

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