Institute for Economic Advancement

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – December 2016

By , January 24, 2017 12:46 PM

As reported last Friday by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, Arkansas’ unemployment rate declined one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.9% in December.  This morning, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released additional details.  From the household survey data, the number of unemployed Arkansans declined by 1,345.  However, the number of employed declined by 5,357, the 7th consecutive monthly decline in employment.  It was also the 7th consecutive decline in the size of the active labor force (-6,702).

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 increased by 1,700 in December (seasonally adjusted).  Sectors showing monthly increases included Leisure and Hospitality services (+1,200), Wholesale Trade (+1,100) and Education and Health Services (+1,200).  Both Construction and Manufacturing showed losses for the month, and remain below the levels of December 2015.

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

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

Overall, the current data indicate that payroll employment rose 5,200 from December 2015 through December 2016, a gain of only 0.4%.  The 2016 year-over-year gain compares to an increase of 27,100 (2.3%) in 2015.  However, these totals will be revised in the next report from the BLS, scheduled to be released on March 13th.

Using available data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), we anticipate that the payroll employment totals will be revised downward for the period from September 2015 forward.  These estimates suggest that the employment increase in 2015 will be revised downward to show a gain of only 16,000 jobs (1.3%), while the change from December 2015 through December 2016 will end up indicating an increase of 6,800 jobs (0.6%).

Sources:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Institute for Economic Advancement

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Institute for Economic Advancement

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*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.

Arkansas Home Sales – November 2016

By , January 18, 2017 4:19 PM

The Arkansas Realtors® Association announced this morning that home sales in November 2016 were up 24.4% compared to November 2015.  As shown in the figure below, home sales typically slow during the final three months of the year, with November often showing a sharp drop-off compared to October.  In 2016, the October-November decline was only 5.9%, compared to an average of over 20% in the previous three years.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

After seasonal adjustment, the November sales total represented one of the strongest months of the year:  The seasonally-adjusted monthly total of 2890 homes translated to an annual sales pace of nearly 35,000.  More importantly, the November statistic is in line with an ongoing growth trend that has prevailed for nearly four years now.  With only one month left to be reported in the calendar year, the year-to-date figures show an increase of 9.9% compared to the same period in 2015.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

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