Institute for Economic Advancement

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.)

Panorama Theme by Themocracy

AWSOM Powered