Institute for Economic Advancement

Arkansas House Prices – 2016:Q1

By , May 25, 2016 4:40 PM

New data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) show that, overall, house prices in Arkansas continue to rise, albeit more slowly than the national average.  According to the FHFA Expanded Data Indexes*, Arkansas house prices rose by 0.8% in the first quarter, compared to a 1.5% increase nationwide.  Since the first quarter of 2015, Arkansas prices were up 4.15 while prices for the total U.S. were up 5.5%.  As shown in the figure below, the most recent price increase in Arkansas lifts the expanded-data index above the level of it’s pre-recession peak.

Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)

Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)

The expanded-data indexes are not available for metropolitan areas, but the FHFA does publish “All-Transactions Indexes*” for metro areas.  The table below shows that by this measure, prices in Arkansas were down slightly in the first quarter, and declined in Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Texarkana, and the non-metropolitan areas of the state as well.  Over the past four quarters, however, prices are up in every metro area except Fort Smith.

Source:  Federal Housing Finance Agency, Seasonally Adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement.

Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency, Seasonally Adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement.

As shown in the accompanying figure, the metro areas that have experienced the largest price increases over the past five years are generally those that experienced the largest price-declines during the 2007-2011 housing market collapse.  That pattern is generally true for other parts of the nation as well.

Source:  Federal Housing Finance Agency, Seasonally Adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement.

Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency, Seasonally Adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement.

# # #

* The “All-Transactions Indexes” are constructed using all home sales and refinancing information collected by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The “Expanded Data Indexes” enhance this information with information collected from county recorders’ offices.

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – April 2016

By , May 20, 2016 3:24 PM

The April employment report for Arkansas represented another in a string of positive reports in 2016, particularly for the data from the household survey.  The unemployment rate declined by two-tenths of a percentage point, from 4.1% in March (revised) to 3.9%. The monthly gain in employment was 5,309 — down from the ebullient 10,000+ pace of the previous three months but still substantial.  The number of unemployed Arkansans declined by 2,449.

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

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

Arkansas was mentioned several times in the news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The 3.9% unemployment rate was hailed as setting “a new series low” (dating back to 1976), and Arkansas was touted as experiencing the largest year-over-year unemployment rate decline in the nation (tied with Tennessee at -1.6%).  The unemployment rate in Arkansas is now more than a full percentage point lower than the national average of 5.0%.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The sharp decline in the unemployment rate and the underlying surge in household employment are almost too good to be true.  In just four months, the household survey data have shown a cumulative employment increase of over 35,000 and a drop in the unemployment rate of 0.8%.  In contrast, data from the payroll survey have shown a decline of 1,900 jobs over the same period.  Eventually, data revisions might help reconcile these conflicting signals.  But for now, it’s probably a good idea to take the household employment report with a grain of salt.

Payroll Survey
Nonfarm payroll employment increased by a mere 700 jobs from March to April.  Compared to April of 2015, payrolls were up by over 25,000, but most of that growth took place during the latter part of 2015.  Employment is now 17,500 jobs (1.4%) higher 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)

Sectoral changes in payroll employment were mixed.  Gains were recorded in the goods-producing sectors of Construction and Manufacturing.  Wholesale and Retail Trade sectors also experienced growth, as did Professional and Business Services.  Other service-providing sectors were flat or declining.  The not-seasonally adjusted data showed an increase in Leisure and Hospitality services; however, after taking account of normal seasonal variation, employment in that sector down from the previous month.

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.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy

AWSOM Powered