Institute for Economic Advancement

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – May 2010

By , June 18, 2010 10:11 AM

The latest information on Arkansas employment and unemployment was released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services this morning.  The reports show that the unemployment rate dropped from 7.8% to 7.7% in May (seasonally adjusted).  This is the first decline since March 2008.  More significantly, the number of unemployed persons fell for the second consecutive month. Over the months of April and May, the number of unemployed has fallen by over 2000. 

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nonfarm payroll employment report also contained positive news:  the number of jobs was up by 2800 in May (seasonally adjusted)*. 

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Gains were particularly notable in some of Arkansas largest sectors:  Manufacturing employment was up by 900; Trade, Transportation and Utilities was up by 2100; and Education and Health Services was up by 900.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Government employment was also up sharply +4200 jobs.  Mirroring the pattern seen in the national data for May, many of these jobs were related to temporary hiring by the Census Bureau.  Federal Government employment in Arkansas was up by 4600 in May.

Since December of 2009, employment is up by 6300 jobs (including 6000 in manufacturing).  4000 of those jobs are government-related, with an increase in private-sector employment of 2300.

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*Seasonally adjusted data for nonfarm payroll employment, reported in a format compatible with the monthly press release from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, are available here
Table – Seasonally Adjusted NFPE.

Arkansas Personal Income – 2010:Q1

By , June 18, 2010 8:51 AM

State-level data on personal income in the first quarter were released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis this morning.  The statistics show a second consecutive quarter of positive growth for Arkansas.  Personal income was up 0.4% in the first quarter of this year, following a (revised) growth rate of 0.6% in the previous quarter.  For the U.S. as a whole, personal income growth was 0.9%.

Among the 50 states, this growth rate was among the lowest in the country (47th).  However, as indicated by the figure below, Arkansas personal income did not fall nearly as sharply during the recession as did incomes in much of the rest of the country.  From the peak in 2008Q2, personal income in Arkansas fell by only 1.5% by the 2009Q3.  Over the same period, personal income for the U.S. was down by 2.3% (at its lowest point, U.S. personal income was down by 2.7% in the 2009Q1).  In some sense, the latest figures show that the rest of the country is now catching up with Arkansas. 

Source:  Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Although the report showed total personal income was up in the first quarter, net earnings were slightly lower (-0.3%) as were dividends, interest and rent (-1.0%).  Consequently, the overall increase in income was attributable to transfer payments (+3.2%).   This pattern was common in many other states as well, with the increase due to payments associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  ARRA payments were up by over 33% in Arkansas in the first quarter.

Breaking down the decline in net earnings by sector, the decline was most pronounced in farm income.  Earnings were up in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and several other categories of service-sector employment (including government).

Arkansas Taxable Sales – Update

By , June 2, 2010 4:07 PM

As noted in a recent post announcing Arkansas Taxable Sales for the first quarter of 2010, the initial data are preliminary until after more detailed statistics are published by the Department of Finance and Administration (DF&A).  With the release of Arkansas Fiscal Notes for April 2010, revised figures are now available.

The final data show a slightly smaller sales figure for the first quarter, with a downward revision amounting to only 0.25 percent.  The final data still show a strong gain in the 2010:Q1, up 2.1% (seasonally adjusted).  This follows a 1.0% gain in the fourth quarter of last year.

TextBox2010Q1

The release this morning of the monthly general revenue report for May also provides information to update the monthly series with preliminary data for April 2010.   These estimates show that  Arkansas Taxable Sales in April were up 1.7 percent from March (seasonally adjusted).  Although these data are based on preliminary and incomplete information, it would appear that retail sales were off to a strong start in the second quarter of 2010. 

Arkansas Taxable Sales statistics are constructed by the Institute for Economic Advancement using tax collection data from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. Data for April 2010 are preliminary.

Arkansas Taxable Sales statistics are constructed by the Institute for Economic Advancement using tax collection data from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. Data for April 2010 are preliminary.

 Updated and revised data are available in Excel spreadsheet form by clicking here.

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