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Posts tagged: Unemployment rate

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)

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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.

Metro Area Employment and Unemployment – June 2016

By , August 3, 2016 4:35 PM

Unemployment rates ticked up in Arkansas metro areas in June, but rates remain far lower than a year ago.  Today’s news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that unemployment rates were lower than a year earlier in 285 of the nations 387 metropolitan areas, and all 8 metro areas that cover parts of Arkansas were in that total.  Year-over-year changes ranged from -0.7% in Fort Smith and Texarkana to -1.6% in Pine Bluff.

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

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

From May to June, not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates increased by 0.3 to 0.5 percentage points, but most of those gains were typical seasonal changes.  After seasonal adjustment, unemployment rates increased by only 0.1 percentage point in most metro areas.  Rate increases were larger for Fort Smith and Memphis, and unemployment was unchanged in Texarkana.  As previously reported, the statewide unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) was unchanged at 3.8% in June, while the national unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points from 4.7% to 4.9%.

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

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

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payroll employment changes were mixed  From May to June, payrolls declined in Little Rock, Pine Bluff and Fort Smith but were up in the state’s other metro areas.  Employment in Hot Springs was up 0.8%.  From June 2015 to June 2016, employment in three metro areas increased at a higher rate than the statewide average of 1.7%:  Hot Springs increased 3.8%, Fayetteville was up 3.7%, and Jonesboro rose by 3.5%.  Since the employment trough of February 2010, the northwest and northeast corners of the state have seen the strongest job growth (23% in Fayetteville and 16.4% in Pine Bluff).  At the other extreme, employment in Pine Bluff is nearly 10% lower than in February 2010, and is down 12.3% from pre-recession levels.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

The chart below illustrates the divergent employment trends among the state’s metro areas since the 2008-09 recession.  Fayetteville, Jonesboro and Little Rock are the only three metro areas to have higher employment now than at the end of 2007.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

 

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – June 2016

By , July 22, 2016 12:22 PM

The unemployment rate in Arkansas remained unchanged at 3.8% in June.  After declining by a full percentage point in only 6 months, it is not surprising that we see a pause in its rapid descent.  Nationwide, the unemployment rate increased by two-tenths of a percent in June.  So at 4.9%, the U.S. unemployment rate is more than a percentage point higher than Arkansas’ rate.  Over the past 12 months, the Arkansas unemployment rate has fallen by 1.5%, the second largest drop in the nation (surpassed only by Tennessee’s 1.6% decline).

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The changes in employment and unemployment that underlie the unemployment rate calculations were not particularly striking in their magnitude, but do represent a departure from recent trends.  The number of employed declined by more than 3,100 after a string of 29 consecutive months of growth.  The number of unemployed increased by only 344, but it was the first monthly increase in the number of jobless Arkansans since February 2011.

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 400 in June (seasonally adjusted) and the figure for May was revised upward by 300.  Nevertheless, the level of payroll employment in June was essentially unchanged from December 2015.  The sharp contrast between payroll employment growth over the past 6 months (-100) and the employment gains measured by the household survey (+33,657) is striking.  It is not unusual for the two separate data sources to diverge, but such a large and persistent gap raises questions about measurement problems.  Both employment series are subject to future revision, but the payroll statistics are generally considered to be the more accurate of the two measures.  Combined with the fact that the increases in household employment took place in an unprecedented three consecutive months of 10,000+ increases (January through March), we remain somewhat skeptical of the validity of recent unemployment rate statistics.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

A breakdown by sectors shows that payroll employment shows gains in most sectors, particularly the service-providing sectors.  A prominent exception was Education & Health services, which declined by 1,300 jobs after expanding 7,400 in the previous 12-month period.  Retail Trade was another sector showing a setback from previous growth trends.  Professional & Business Services continues to be the fastest growing sector, increasing by over 28,000 since the employment trough of February 2010.  Growth in Professional & Business Services has accounted for over one-third of all job growth during this economic expansion.

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

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

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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 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)

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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 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.

Metro Area Employment and Unemployment – March 2016

By , April 29, 2016 5:05 PM

Earlier this week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new statistics on metro area employment and unemployment in March.  Also included in this week’s data dump were the long-awaited annual revisions to household employment and unemployment for metro areas.

The new statistics for March showed that the long decline in unemployment rates has continued, and even accelerated in some metro areas.   The not-seasonally adjusted data showed that unemployment rates have fallen significantly over the past 12 months, with changes ranging from -0.8% in Texarkana to -1.9% in Pine Bluff.

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

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

From February to March, unemployment rates continued their downward march in every Arkansas metro area except for Pine Bluff, where the rate stalled at 5.6%.

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

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

The unemployment rate changes thus far in 2016 come on top of downward revisions to the data for 2015.  As shown in the figures below, the revisions to data for 2014 and 2015 generally evened-out some of the volatility, with the revised data showing smoother, more monotonic downward paths.

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

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

In some cases, there were noticeable changes in the estimated unemployment rate levels (e.g. Pine Bluff and Memphis).  The table below summarizes the impact of the revisions on annual average unemployment rates.  With the exception of Memphis, revised unemployment levels were subject to small revisions in 2014, but the revisions had the effect of lowering the 2015 average unemployment rates for all eight metro areas.

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

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

Underlying the changes in unemployment rates, data on employment and unemployment were also revised.  The chart below shows the impact of the revisions on overall employment levels (as measured in the household survey data).  As of December 2015, the revisions increased measured employment in four metro areas and decreased it in the other four.  The largest revisions to the employment data were for Pine Bluff (+5.5%) and Hot Springs (-3.4%).

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

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

Payroll Data
Data from the independent establishment survey showed weaker employment growth than the household survey.  From February to March, payroll employment declined in 6 of 8 metro areas, rising only in Hot Springs and Jonesboro.  Compared to a year ago, employment has declined in Pine Bluff, but is higher in all other metro areas.  Fayetteville and Jonesboro have displayed the highest growth rates over the past year.

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

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

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).

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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.

Metro Area Unemployment and Employment – February 2016

By , April 7, 2016 4:55 PM

New data on unemployment rates in  metro areas came out yesterday.  However, the full time series for employment, unemployment and labor force participation are still not available following the most recent data revision.  Consequently, the only information to report at this time is the not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for February.  As shown in the table, unemployment rates have fallen substantially over the most recent 12 months in all eight of the metro areas covering portions of Arkansas.  Declines range from one full percentage point in Texarkana to 1.7% in Memphis.  The BLS News Release noted that Memphis was tied for the largest unemployment rate decline among the 51 metro areas in the country with a population of 1 million or more.

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

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

Payroll Employment:
As previously reported, statewide nonfarm payroll employment rose sharply in February, increasing by 6,100 jobs (0.5%).  Over half of that net job gain took place in Northwest Arkansas:  Employment in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metro area rose by 3,100 for the month — 1.3%.  Gains were also reported in Jonesboro, Little Rock, and Pine Bluff.  Employment was down for the month in Fort Smith, Memphis, and Texarkana.*  On a year over year basis, employment is up in all metro areas except Pine Bluff.

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

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

# # #

Note:  Seasonally adjusted payroll employment data for Texarkana remain temporarily unavailable from the BLS.  The data in this report were seasonally adjusted in-house at the Institute for Economic Advancement.

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – February 2016

By , March 25, 2016 11:41 AM

The employment and unemployment report for February was unambiguously positive.  For the second month, the unemployment rate declined by more than one-tenth of a percent:  Following a 0.3% decline in January, the rate dropped another 0.2% in February, to 4.2%.  A one-half percent decline in unemployment in Arkansas is literally unprecedented (at least going back as far as 1976).

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The February decline in the unemployment rate was underpinned by a significant increase in the number of employed Arkansans (+10,702) and a decline in the number of unemployed (-2,342).   The first two months of 2016 have seen some remarkable changes in these statistics, but even over a longer period, the trends are clearly positive.  Over the most recent six months, the household survey has shown employment gains averaging over 5,000 per month, and average declines in the number of unemployed by over 1,700 per month.  It is quite likely that some of the recent statistics will ultimately be revised to smooth out some of the unusually large changes, but the data clearly show encouraging trends.

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

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

Payroll Employment
The report on nonfarm payroll employment was similarly upbeat.  Total payroll employment rose by 6,100 in February (seasonally adjusted).  Moreover, the data from January were revised upward by approximately 1,000 jobs.  The recent payroll data have shown more volatility than the household employment statistics, but still indicate positive trends.  Over the past six months, payroll employment gains have averaged approximately 2,700 per month.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The table below shows that February’s employment gains were broad based.  Sizable gains were recorded for Leisure & Hospitality Services, Transportation & Utilities, and Retail Trade.  Construction employment also showed a strong increase.  Combined with a monthly rises in Manufacturing employment, goods-producing sectors contributed positively to the month’s employment increase.

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

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

Compared to February of 2015, payroll employment has increased by 27,900 jobs–a 2.3% rate of expansion.  The only sectors to have lost jobs over that period are Mining & Logging (which has been affected by a slowdown in energy-producing activities) and Manufacturing (which has been subject to a long-term downward trend).  Employment in service sectors and in Retail Trade have accounted for the bulk of employment growth over the past year — and over the course of the entire economic expansion for that matter.  With the recent increases, statewide employment is now 21,400 higher than it was before the recession hit in 2008.

# # #

*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 Employment & Unemployment – January 2016

By , March 18, 2016 5:04 PM

New data on employment and unemployment in metropolitan areas were released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The BLS report noted that unemployment rates were “lower in January than a year earlier in 333 of the 387 metropolitan areas.”  All of the metro areas covering parts of Arkansas fell into this category.  As shown in the table below, metro unemployment rates have declined dramatically over the past 12 months, with changes ranging from -1.1 percentage points in Fort Smith to -2.3 percentage points in Pine Bluff.  Significant differences in unemployment rates around the state remain:  The unemployment rate in Northwest Arkansas stood at 3.3% in January (not seasonally adjusted) while the rate for Pine bluff was 6.4%.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Data from the household survey–including unemployment rates–were revised since the release of the December data.  However, the revised estimates have not yet been loaded into the BLS time series database, nor have revised seasonally adjusted estimates yet been reported.  Consequently, further detailed examination of the paths of unemployment in Arkansas metro areas will await the availability of the revised data, scheduled to be available on April 15th.

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payroll employment dropped statewide in January, with the decline reflected in the metropolitan area data for Fayetteville, Hot Springs, Memphis and Pine Bluff.  Jonesboro and Texarkana saw employment gains for the month, while Little Rock and Fort Smith were essentially unchanged.  Compared to a year ago, employment was up in most areas of the state, with the exception of a small decline registered for Pine Bluff (which is also the only metro area in the state with net employment losses since the employment trough of February 2010).  After revisions (see below), only three metro areas presently display higher levels of employment than before the 2008-09 recession.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The payroll data have been revised as part of the annual benchmark processing to reflect 2015 employment counts from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.  Not seasonally adjusted figures were revised back to April 2014, and seasonally adjusted numbers were revised back to January 2011.  As summarized in the table below, and illustrated with the subsequent panel of charts, the revisions were in some cases quite substantial.

The revisions were generally positive, with the notable exceptions of Jonesboro and Hot Springs.  Previously reported data had shown Jonesboro to be the fastest-growing metro area in the state, expanding by 7.5% during 2014 and 2015.  That growth rate was marked down by nearly two percentage points.  Meanwhile a sharp upward revision to the data for Northwest Arkansas put the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metro area into the top growth rate position (11.1%).  The other downward revision affected Hot Springs:  A 2.3% downward revision to the estimated level of employment in Hot Springs lowered reported growth from 3.7% to 1.6% for the 2014-15 period.

Source:   Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The largest positive revision was reflected in a 6.3% increase in estimated employment in Pine Bluff.  Previously reported data had indicated a 6.8% contraction in employment — primarily over the first half of 2015.  The revised data suggest that employment in Pine Bluff has stabilized over the past two years.

A similar, albeit smaller, positive revision for Fort Smith changed estimated employment growth from negative to positive.  Previously published data for Texarkana* had indicated sluggish growth but the new data indicate a robust pace of employment expansion.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Note:  Seasonally adjusted payroll employment data for Texarkana remain temporarily unavailable from the BLS.  The data in this report were seasonally adjusted in-house at the Institute for Economic Advancement.

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