Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Metro Area Employment and Unemployment – August 2016

By , September 30, 2016 3:53 PM

New data on employment and unemployment in metro areas came out earlier this week.  The data continue to show substantially lower unemployment rates in most Arkansas metro areas than a year earlier, although most of the decline took place in the latter part of 2015 with monthly data showing rates leveling off more recently.  In Texarkana, the unemployment rate has been drifting higher in recent months, leaving a net change of zero compared to August 2016.

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

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

From July to August, seasonally adjusted estimates show no change in unemployment rates in most metro areas.  Unemployment rates in Fayetteville and Texarkana crept upward by one-tenth of a percentage point, while Hot Springs saw its unemployment rate decline by one-tenth.  The unemployment rate in Pine Bluff increased by two-tenths of a percent.

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

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

As shown in the figure below, unemployment rates in Arkansas have leveled off since spring, and in some cases have increased through the summer.  Considerable variation remains among metro area rates, with unemployment under 3% in Fayetteville and over 5% in Memphis and Pine Bluff.

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

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

Payroll Employment
Estimates of nonfarm payroll employment in August were mixed.  From July to August, employment declined in Fayetteville and Pine Bluff, while increasing in Fort Smith, Little Rock, and Memphis.  Compared to a year earlier, only Pine Bluff shows a net decline in employment.  Since the employment trough of February 2010, the data show strong job growth in the Northwest and Northeast regions of the state, with more modest growth in other metro areas.  The exception is Pine Bluff, where employment has continued to decline.

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

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

Arkansas Personal Income – 2016:Q2

By , September 28, 2016 4:28 PM

New data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows total personal income in Arkansas increasing by 1.1% in the second quarter, up from a growth rate of 0.6% in the first quarter (revised).  The second quarter growth rate slightly exceeded the national average of 1.0%, and represented the 16th highest growth rate among the 50 states.  Compared to a year earlier, Arkansas personal income was up 3.1%, compared to 3.2% nationally.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The second quarter increase represented gains in all major income categories:  Wages and Salaries increased by 1.3%; Proprietors’ income was up 0.8%, Dividends, interest and rent rose 1.1%; and Personal current transfer receipts increased 1.7%.

A breakdown of earnings by industry shows gains in most of Arkansas’ sectors.  One clear exception was mining, which has been impacted by low oil prices.  The BEA report noted that lower earnings in mining was the leading contributor to below-average earnings growth in several of the slowest growing states (which are also significant oil-producing states).  Earnings growth was also negative in Construction, Educational services, as well as in the leisure and hospitality services sectors.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Today’s report incorporated annual revisions to the personal income data.  For Arkansas, the revisions represented fairly substantial downward adjustments to income.  As illustrated in the figure below, Arkansas personal income was revised down by 1.5% in 2013, by 0.5% in 2014, and by 2.2% in 2015.  The revisions were primarily attributable to new figures for Proprietors’ income, as well as Dividends, interest and rent.  The BEA reported that nonfarm proprietors’ income, in particular, was subject to substantial revision due to methodological improvements that were implemented with this revision.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The data revisions had a particularly noticeable impact on measured income growth in 2015.  As previously reported, the data showed a growth rate of 3.6% from 2014:Q4 to 2015:Q4.  The revised data now show that increase to be only 1.5%.

Metro Area GDP – 2015

By , September 27, 2016 4:55 PM

New data on metropolitan area GDP were published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis last week.  For the metro areas in Arkansas, the news was decidedly mixed.  Only one of Arkansas’ metro areas — Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers — had GDP growth in excess of the national average for metro areas:  Growth in Northwest Arkansas was reported at 4.4%, compared to 2.5% for the aggregate of all U.S. metro areas.  At 2.4%, Jonesboro’s growth rate was near the national average.  At the other end of the scale, GDP was reported to have contracted in three metro areas, with losses in Hot Springs and Pine Bluff reported at -3.0%.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The data for a single year do not always reveal the underlying growth trend.  As shown in the figure below, for example, the contraction in Hot Springs interrupted a series of years with relatively robust growth.  Even after declining 3% in 2015, GDP in Hot Springs was up 12.7% from it’s pre-recession level in 2007.  Over the same period, Fayetteville was the fastest-growing metro, with cumulative growth of 28.5%.  At the other end of the scale, GDP in Pine Bluff was down nearly 14% from its 2007 level.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Another caveat to the interpretation of the latest data:  The figures for 2015 are considered to be “advance estimates,” subject to considerable future revision.  The data release last week included revisions to the data for 2014, which were sizable in some cases.  In fact, for four metro areas (Hot Springs, Little Rock, Memphis, and Texarkana) even the direction of GDP change in 2014 has now been revised.  The update to Texarkana data is particularly large: having been originally estimated at -1.0%, GDP in 2014 is now reported to have increased at a 1.6% rate.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The revisions to 2014 data show that the new data for 2015 should be interpreted with caution.  The multi-year trends in the data are revealing, but the latest reading on annual growth rates may look quite a bit different when the data are revised a year from now.

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – August 2016

By , September 20, 2016 12:59 PM

The Arkansas unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.9% in August.  The number of unemployed was up slightly (+267) and the number of employed was down (-1,520); however, these changes were not enough to cause the unemployment rate to budge more than a tiny fraction of a percentage point. August was the third consecutive month in which employment and unemployment moved in the “wrong” direction.  If these three month trends continue, the unemployment rate will tick up to 4.0% in September.  Despite the recent slowdown in household employment, Arkansas has shown significant improvement over the past 12 months.  The decline of 1.2% in the state’s unemployment rate since August 2015 is the largest decline in the country, matched only by Tennessee.

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

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

Payroll Employment
Arkansas nonfarm payrolls increased by 3,400 in August (seasonally adjusted). Employment in goods producing sectors was down, while most service-providing sectors expanded.   Particularly strong gains for the month were seen in Wholesale and Retail Trade, as well as Leisure and Hospitality Services.

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

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

Over the past year, employment is up by 16,700 jobs.  However, the pace of growth has slowed considerably since a year ago. From December 2014 through December 2015, Arkansas payroll employment expanded by 27,100 jobs — a growth rate of 2.3%.  So far in 2016, cumulative employment growth has totaled only 2,400 jobs, representing an annualized growth rate of only 0.3%.

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