Institute for Economic Advancement

Posts tagged: Arkansas employment

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – March 2017

By , April 21, 2017 1:06 PM

The Arkansas unemployment rate set another new record low in March: 3.6%.  Having declined by 0.1 percentage point in each of the past four months, the state’s unemployment rate is now 0.9% lower than the national average.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

March’s decline in the unemployment rate was underpinned by an increase in the number of employed (+4,428) and a decline in the number unemployed (-1,240).  As a result, the participation rate was up for the second consecutive month, after declining steadily during 2016 and into the first part of this year.

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 was essentially unchanged in March (seasonally adjusted).  Professional and Business Services continued to show strong growth, increasing by 1,200 jobs from February to March.  Education and Health Services showed an uncharacteristic decline for the month, but remains the single largest generator of job growth among the major super-sectors over the past 12 months.  Construction employment would ordinarily be expected to increase this time of year, but the warm early spring months was associated with earlier-than-expected increases.  As a result, with not-seasonally adjusted employment unchanged in the construction sector in March, the seasonally-adjusted figures register a decline of 800 jobs.  Manufacturing continues to show signs of improvement, having added a cumulative total of 3,100 jobs over the past year.

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

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

Compared to its pre-recession level (December 2007), Arkansas employment has increased by 33,100 jobs — about 2.8% growth.  Over the same period, employment nationally has increased by 5.3%.  That long-run comparison includes a period of relatively stagnant job growth in Arkansas — from around 2011 through 2013.  More recently, Arkansas employment has tracked the national growth rate more closely: Since the end of 2013, Arkansas employment has expanded by 5.7%, compared to 6.2% nationwide.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

# # #

*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 Employment and Unemployment – January 2017

By , March 13, 2017 6:05 PM

Today’s state employment report featured a new record low unemployment rate for Arkansas, 3.8%.  Previously published figures had shown a 3.8% unemployment rate back in May of 2016, but recent data revisions eliminated that transitory dip in the data.  With the latest downtick, Arkansas’ unemployment rate in January was a full percentage point lower than the national average.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Underlying the unemployment rate itself, the number of unemployed dropped by 2,098 in January, while the number of employed increased by 823.  On net, therefore, the labor force contracted by 1,275 for the month.

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

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

Payroll Data
Nonfarm payroll employment declined by 4,300 in January.  In a reversal of typical patterns, goods-producing sectors added jobs in January, while service-providing sectors shed jobs during the month.  Construction and Manufacturing showed increases of 300 and 700 workers, respectively.  Meanwhile, employment in service-providing sectors was down by 5,300.  The declines were broadly based, with sectors losing jobs including Wholesale Trade, Transportation and Utilities, Information Services, Professional and Business Services, and Leisure and Hospitality.

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

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

Compared to a year ago, total employment is up by 11,300.  After data revisions (see below), growth in Manufacturing employment is looking more healthy, up by 2,300 over the past 12 months.  The bulk of job growth is taking place in key service sectors, Education and Health Services up 6,800, Professional and business services up 300, and Other Services up 2,100.

Revisions to Payroll Data
Today’s report included the annual benchmark revisions to the payroll data.  Data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), which is more complete and accurate than the monthly payroll employment statistics, had led us to expect a modest downward revision to total employment levels for the state.  However, the revised data revealed a small upward adjustment, amounting to about 800 jobs.  After revision, total payroll employment shows a growth rate of 1.2% from December 2015 through December 2016 (up from an original estimate of 0.4%).  Growth for the previous year was revised downward slightly from 2.3% to 2.0%.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Revisions to the not-seasonally adjusted data covered the period March 2015 through December 2016.  Although there are small changes in the data for previous periods, these are only minor adjustments to seasonal factors.  Hence, the economically significant revisions are limited to the last two years.  The table below summarizes the impact of the revisions by sector, reporting on the change in the level of employment by sector as of December 2016, and comparing the pre-revision to post-revision growth rates for the two-year period December 2014 to December 2016.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

# # #

*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.

 

Revised Unemployment Rates for Arkansas

By , February 28, 2017 4:24 PM

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has completed its annual review and revision of Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) for 2012-2016.   The data revisions incorporate updated population controls from the U.S. Census Bureau, revisions from other original data sources, and model re-estimation.

For Arkansas, the revisions were not surprising.   The originally published data showed a sharp increase in household employment over the first three months of 2016 — a reading about which we were very skeptical from the outset.   After revision, the unprecedented surge in employment and labor force was eliminated completely.  The new data show more robust growth in employment over most of 2015 and a much smaller upswing/downswing during 2016.  The new data also show that the number of unemployed was lower than previously reported for much of 2015, with a smaller decline in the number of unemployed during the first part of 2016.

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

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

As a result of the revisions, Arkansas’ unemployment rate now shows a more rapid decline during 2015, followed by a more stable rate during 2016.  The original data had indicated that the Arkansas unemployment rate declined to as low as 3.8% in May 2016, drifting back up to 4.0% toward the end of the year.  After revision, the unemployment rate changed little over the year, starting at 4.1% then dropping to 4.0% for most of the rest of the year.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Today’s data revisions also included the official annual averages for unemployment.  The report noted at least three distinctions for Arkansas:

1.  From 2015 to 2016 (annual averages), the Arkansas unemployment rate declined 1.1%, from 5.1% to 4.0%.  Massachusetts and South Carolina were the only states to show a larger decline (-1.2%).

2.  For the year, Arkansas unemployment rate of 4.0% can be considered statistically significantly lower than the U.S. average of 4.9%.

3.  Arkansas was one of only 14 states to show a statistically significant increase in the employment-population ratio (up 0.7 percentage points, from 55.1% to 55.8%)

 

Metro Area Employment and Unemployment – December 2016

By , February 1, 2017 3:47 PM

Unemployment rates in Arkansas metro areas were generally lower in December than in November.  Although the raw not-seasonally adjusted figures show increases in all eight metro areas that include parts of Arkansas, the end of year is typically associated with seasonal upticks in unemployment associated with academic breaks.  After seasonal adjustment, unemployment rates declined Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Jonesboro and Pine Bluff.  Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates were unchanged in Hot Springs and Little Rock, while increasing slightly in Memphis and Texarkana.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Compared to year earlier, Decembers metro unemployment rates continued to show significant declines.  From December 2015 through December 2016, unemployment rates declined by 0.1% (Texarkana) to 1.2% (Pine Bluff).

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm Payroll Employment in December was up 0.7% in Jonesboro and 0.4% in Fort Smith, but was lower in 5 of the state’s metro areas.  Compared to December 2015 employment was higher in most metro areas, with particularly large gains in Jonesboro.  Tow metro areas, Pine Bluff and Texarkana showed year-over-year declines in employment.  Those two metro areas also showed longer-term declines, with employment lower than the post-recession trough point of February 2010.  Five of the state’s eight metro areas have yet to reach pre-recession (December 2007) employment levels.  Eight years after the onset of the 2008-09 recession, only Little Rock, Fayetteville and Jonesboro have shown net gains.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

 

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

# # #

*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 Employment and Unemployment – October 2016

By , November 18, 2016 1:50 PM

Arkansas’ unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.0% in October.   The underlying data from the household survey shows that the number of employed Arkansans declined for the 5th consecutive month, falling by 1,805.  The number of unemployed fell slightly (-368) after rising in the previous four months.

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

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

Payroll Employment
Arkansas nonfarm payroll employment increased by 300 in October (seasonally adjusted).  An increase of 1,700 jobs in Construction employment accounted for a net increase in goods-producing sectors.  Despite a strong increase in Professional and Business Services (+1,700), service-providing sectors contracted from September to Octobers, led by declines in Leisure and Hospitality (-700), Wholesale Trade (-500) and Retail Trade (-1,600).  The concentration of job losses in consumer-related sectors suggests that firms are not scaling up holiday employment as much as in previous years.

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

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

As presented during our Arkansas Economic Forecast Presentation, information from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages suggests that the nonfarm payroll data will ultimately be revised downward for the period from 2014:Q2 through 2015:Q1.  Final revisions will not be completed until March 2017 and will include additional data from 2015.   Currently, the total magnitude of the revision is estimated to be approximately 4,800 jobs (about 0.4%), with the revisions concentrated in the second half of 2015.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Institute for Economic Advancement

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Institute for Economic Advancement

The table below breaks down the expected revisions by sector.  Employment in goods producing sectors is expected to be revised upward, while service-sector job growth will generally be revised lower (with the exception of Financial Services).  Overall job growth for the period December 2014 through October 2016 is presently estimated to be 31,200 (2.6%), but our projections of future data revisions indicate that growth rate for that period will total 26,400 jobs (2.2%).

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Institute for Economic Advancement

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Institute for Economic Advancement

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.

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – May 2016

By , June 17, 2016 2:31 PM

The monthly report on employment and unemployment showed yet another decline in the Arkansas unemployment rate in May:  the rate declined 0.1% to an all-time low of 3.8%.  Over the past 12 months, the unemployment rate has fallen 1.6% — the second-largest decline in the country (next to Tennessee’s 1.7%).

The statistics underlying the falling unemployment rate were less dramatic than earlier in the year: The number of unemployed declined by 1,027 and the number employed increased by 1,073.  As a result, the size of the labor force remained approximately unchanged.  This stands in contrast to the first three months of the year, when employment and labor force growth exceeded  10,000 per month.

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

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

Although there is some reason to be skeptical about the magnitude of the employment gains underlying the unemployment rate decline, it is clear that unemployment is declining.  The number of unemployed has fallen every single months since February 2011, when it stood at nearly 115,000.  The number of unemployed in May was down to 51,773.

Yet even taking the 3.8% unemployment rate at face value, today’s low unemployment arises under different circumstances than previous episodes of low unemployment.  In particular, labor force participation remains low.  As shown in the chart below, the last time that unemployment declined to a cyclical low was just about 10 years ago (2006).  Unemployment was down to 5.0%.  At that time, however, the employment-population ratio was around 64%.   In 2016, while the unemployment rate has fallen below 4%, we only have an employment-population ratio of just over 56%.  So the percentage of Arkansans with jobs is presently 8 percentage points lower than it was a decade ago.

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

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

Payroll Employment
One important reason to question the statistics derived from the household survey is the conflicting information from the payroll survey.  Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1,200 in May–about in line with the increase in household employment.  Over the past 5 months, however, the net change in payroll employment has been -800, compared to an increase of 36,778 reported in the household data. Payroll employment is 22,100 higher than it was in May 2015, but most of that increase took place in the latter months of 2015.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The monthly change in payroll employment was dominated by an increase of 2,200 jobs in Education and Health Services — all of which was accounted for by rising employment in the health care sector.  Total employment in goods-producing sectors was down for the month, and changes in employment by service-providing sectors was mixed.  Over the past year, the strongest sectors continue to be Education & Health Services, Professional & Business Services, and Retail Trade.

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.

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.

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – March 2016

By , April 15, 2016 3:14 PM

The Arkansas unemployment rate was reported to have declined again in March, this time by two-tenths of a percent to 4.0%.  Over the past three months, the rate has fallen by 0.7%.  More remarkable is the underlying data on household employment that has driven the rate decline.  In March, the number of employed Arkansans was reported to have been up 9,569 — the third month in a row of gains near or above 10,000.  From December through March, household employment has increased by more than 30,000.  This is literally unprecedented, and as reported below, it is at odds with the data reported in the separate payroll employment report.

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

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

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payrolls were down in March, dropping by 3,900 (seasonally adjusted).  In addition, the data for the previous month were revised slightly downward.  From December through March, payroll employment has declined by a total of 3,100.  It is not unusual for the household data and payroll data to give conflicting signals.  The two sets of employment measures are constructed using different data sources and methods.  The household report includes workers in the farming sector, the self-employed, and workers with jobs outside of Arkansas, whereas the payroll data do not.  The payroll data also count each job, whereas the household survey treats multiple job-holders as a single worker.  None of these differences is likely to account for the type of discrepancy we’ve seen between the two sets of employment numbers so far in 2016.

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

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

Two more likely explanations exist to explain the differences in the two employment series.  One possibility is that the unusually mild winter has had distorting effects on the seasonal patterns in the data.  If this is the case, underlying trends in employment growth are likely to become more apparent as the year proceeds.  The other possibility is that unusual patterns are affecting the viability of the model-based components of the data estimation process.  If this is the case, the divergence may persist in the currently published data until they have been revised with more complete information.

For now, taking the data at face value, the table below shows the breakdown of payroll employment changes for March.  For the month, job losses were evident in the goods-producing sectors and in each component of Trade, Transportation and Utilities.  Professional & Business Services and Education & Health Services continued the positive growth that has characterized those sectors throughout the current economic expansion.

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