Institute for Economic Advancement

Posts tagged: Unemployment rate

Metro Area Employment and Unemployment – December 2015

By , February 3, 2016 4:17 PM

As previously reported, statewide unemployment declined by two-tenths of a percent in December — a result that is mirrored in new statistics for Arkansas’ metropolitan areas.  As shown in the table below, unemployment rates fell in all eight metro areas that include parts of Arkansas.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics

Over the course of the year, unemployment rates around the state have declined significantly.  From December 2014 to December 2015, changes ranged from -0.4% in Fort Smith to one full percentage point in Hot Springs and Jonesboro.  At the end of the year, unemployment rates were at or below 5% in five of the eight metro areas.

Source:   Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics

Payroll Employment
Changes in nonfarm payroll employment were mixed.  Employment declined in Jonesboro, Little Rock, and Pine Bluff, but showed strong gains in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Hot Springs and Memphis.  Compared to a year ago, payroll employment was up in six metro areas, having fallen in Fort Smith and Pine Bluff.  Growth over the past 12 months has been particularly strong in Fayetteville and Jonesboro.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

As shown in the figure below, strong payroll employment growth in Fayetteville and Jonesboro continues a trend that has characterized the entire economic expansion, with the two northern corners of the state experiencing far more rapid growth than the rest of the region.  At the other extreme, employment in Pine Bluff has continued to decline.  At the end of 2015, Pine Bluff payrolls were down 17.5% from pre-recession levels.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

Note:  The metro-area payroll data will be subject to the annual benchmark revision process, with revised numbers to be reported in mid-March.  Our estimates of the statewide employment revisions suggest that the updated data will show slower growth among at least some of the state’s metro areas, particularly for the second half of 2014.

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – December 2015

By , January 26, 2016 11:21 AM

The final pre-revision employment report for 2015 came out this morning, showing the Arkansas unemployment rate falling 2-tenths of a percent to 4.8% in December.   The number of employed rose by nearly 3,700 and the number of unemployed dropped by 2,200.   As a result, the size of the labor force increased by 1,500.  Over the past seven months, the size of the labor force has held fairly steady, with employment expanding by 11,540 and unemployment dropping by 11,230.  Over that time period, the unemployment rate has fallen by one percentage point, from 5.8% in May to 4.8% in December.

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 expanded sharply in December, increasing by 8,900 from November (seasonally adjusted).  The November figure was also revised upward by 1,200 from the previously reported level.

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

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

Employment increases were recorded over a wide range of sectors, with a particularly strong gain in Leisure & Hospitality Services (+3,300).  Manufacturing employment expanded by 1,500, with gains reported in particular in food manufacturing.  Over the past 12 months, payroll employment has expanded by 19,300 — approximately 1.6%.

Today’s report was the final estimate of nonfarm payrolls before the annual benchmark revisions, which will be released on March 14.  Based on the more complete series of employment statistics from the Quarterly Census of Wages and Employment (QCEW) we are estimating that the net revision will show about 8,000 fewer jobs at the end of 2015 than current statistics are reporting.  Much of the downward revision to job growth will affect the latter part of 2014, with revisions to December 2014 employment to be approximately negative 6,000.  From that revised base, the benchmarked data for 2015 should show growth of around 17,000 jobs for 2015 (December over December), a growth rate of approximately 1.4%.

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 Employment and Unemployment – November 2015

By , December 18, 2015 12:52 PM

The unemployment rate in Arkansas declined by one-tenth of a percent to 5.0% in November, matching the national average.  The press release from the Department of Workforce Services pointed out that the last time the Arkansas unemployment rate was this low was in April 2008 (when the U.S. unemployment rate was also 5.0%).

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The household data showed that the number of unemployed declined by 1,968, while the number of employed edged up by 205 (resulting in a labor force decline of 1,763.)  Over the past six months, the number of employed Arkansans has increased by 9,443 while the number of unemployed has declined by 10,301.

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

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

Payroll Survey
In contrast to the recent employment trends from the household survey data, nonfarm payroll employment contracted by 2,200 jobs in November (seasonally adjusted).  The employment total for October was revised upward by 1,100 jobs, however, so the net change from September was a loss of only 1,300 jobs.  Compared to 6 months ago (May), payroll employment has increased by 4,200.  Over the past 12 months, it is up by 14,700.  While the trend in job growth remains positive, there is clearly a loss of momentum in recent months.

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

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

From October to November, both Manufacturing and Construction were down by over 1,000 jobs.  Employment in construction typically declines this time of year, but the fact that the seasonally-adjusted change was negative implies a larger-than-usual decline in jobs.  Similarly, the seasonally-adjusted decline of 1,100 jobs in Retail Trade (along with the year-over-year decline) indicates that holiday hiring has not been as robust as usual or expected.  Sectors that added jobs in November included Professional & Business Services and Education & Health Services.  Those two “super-sectors” alone have increased by nearly 12,000 over the past twelve months, and have expanded by more than 46,000 jobs since the pre-recession date of December 2007.

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 – October 2015

By , December 8, 2015 4:12 PM

The latest data on metro area employment and unemployment was mixed.  In a previous release, the statewide unemployment rate ticked down by one-tenth of a percent in October, but nonfarm payroll employment was basically flat.  Overall, the metro area data show similarly unremarkable changes for October.

Not seasonally adjusted data from the household survey shows that unemployment in all of Arkansas metro areas remains below the levels of a year ago.  The press release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that year-over-year declines were realized in 337 of the nations 387 metropolitan areas.

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

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

Month to month changes are typically influenced at this time of year by seasonal factors, with schools back in session and holiday temporary hiring starting to pick up.   The seasonally adjusted data show, however, there was little change in unemployment rates in Arkansas metro areas after accounting for these recurring seasonal factors.  Rates were unchanged in Fayetteville, Hot Springs, Little Rock and Pine Bluff.  Unemployment ticked up one tenth of a percent in Jonesboro and Texarkana, and down by one tenth in Fort Smith and Memphis.

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

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

Payroll Employment
Changes in nonfarm payroll employment (seasonally adjusted) were mixed.  From September to October, employment was unchanged in Little Rock, up slightly in Fayetteville and Fort Smith, but down in the state’s other metro areas.  Compared to a year ago, employment was down significantly in Pine Bluff, but unchanged or higher in the other seven metro areas.

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

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

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – September 2015

By , October 20, 2015 11:32 AM

The state employment report that came out this morning contained mixed signals.  The good news was that the unemployment rate dropped by two-tenths of a percent to 5.2%.  The national unemployment rate remained steady at 5.1%, so the gap between Arkansas and the U.S. rates narrowed.  Earlier in the year, Arkansas’ unemployment rate had crept upward, reaching a peak of 5.8% in May.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

While the number of unemployed was down by over 2,500, the household data showed that number of employed was up only by about 1,000.  Consequently, the Arkansas labor force contracted for the second time in 3 months.

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

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

Payroll Data
The not-seasonally adjusted payroll data for September showed an increase of 12,300 jobs.  However, the gains were almost entirely seasonal.  Back-to-school effects boosted state and local government employment (public schools) and private sector employment in education.  Leisure and Hospitality and Retail Trade also showed seasonal declines.  After seasonal adjustment (shown in the table below), the data showed a slight decline in employment for the month (-700 jobs).    A relatively bright spot in the report was employment in the construction sector.  Up by 900 jobs for the month, construction activity has added 7,400 jobs over the past year.

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 – August 2015

By , October 1, 2015 4:31 PM

The latest report on metropolitan area unemployment rates came out yesterday, showing unemployment rates down in all of Arkansas’ metro areas.  The not-seasonally adjusted data showed that on a year-over-year basis, unemployment rates were down by amounts ranging from 0.5% in Fort Smith to 1.6% in Memphis.  The report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics cited a figure that 365 of the 387 metropolitan areas across the country experienced unemployment rate declines since August 2014.

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

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

As is typically the case, the change in unemployment rates from July to August is complicated by seasonal factors.  Not seasonally adjusted data indicate sharp declines of more than half a percentage point in all eight metro areas; however, that is typical of July-to-August changes.   Yet even after seasonal adjustment, rates were down around the state.  Three metro areas matched the 0.2% decline previously reported for the statewide unemployment rate (Fayetteville, Jonesboro and Texarkana).  Fort Smith and Pine Bluff saw declines of 0.1%, while Little Rock and Memphis saw even larger drops.

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

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

Payroll Employment
Changes in nonfarm payroll employment were mixed.   Employment was down by 0.5% in Jonesboro and Memphis, and down by 0.2% in Texarkana*.   Employment in Pine Bluff was unchanged, and was up in the remaining metro areas.  Gains were particularly large in Little Rock (+0.7%) and Hot Springs (+0.8%).  Employment is now higher than pre-recession levels in four of the eight metro areas (Jonesboro, Fayetteville, Little Rock and Hot Springs).

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

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

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*Note:  Payroll data for Texarkana (which now include Little River County) are not presently being published by the BLS on a seasonally adjusted basis.  Payroll employment figures for Texarkana refer to data that have been seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement.

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – August 2015

By , September 18, 2015 10:53 AM

The Arkansas unemployment rate decreased two-tenths of a percent in August, mirroring the decline that had previously been reported on the national level.  At 5.4%, the state’s unemployment rate is nearing pre-recession levels.  The August unemployment drop was attributable to both an increase in the number of employed (+3,910) and a decline in the number of unemployed (-2,490).

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Payroll Employment
The data on nonfarm payrolls showed a monthly increase of 1,700 jobs (seasonally adjusted).   Compared to the previous month, employment was down in the goods producing sectors and retail trade.   Employment was up in most service-providing sectors, with Education and Health Services, in particular, continuing to  expand.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Compared to a year earlier, payroll employment in Arkansas is up 26,800.  Job gains over the past 12 months have been fairly broad-based, with the notable exception of Manufacturing.  In fact, Manufacturing employment is still 6,000 jobs lower than at the employment trough of February 2010, and down 35,400 since the onset of the 2008-09 recession.  Overall employment is now 7,200  (0.6%) above pre-recession levels.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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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 – July 2015

By , September 1, 2015 12:10 PM

New data on unemployment rates in Arkansas metro areas show continuing downward trends.  From July 2014 through July 2015, the state’s unemployment rate declined by 0.8%, with metro area changes ranging from -0.4% (Fort Smith) to -1.2% (Memphis and Texarkana).

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

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

Seasonally adjusted data indicate month-to-month declines in unemployment in 5 metro areas, with rates unchanged in Hot Springs and Texarkana.  The unemployment rate in Memphis ticked up by one-tenth of a percentage point.

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 rose slightly in the early months of the year, peaking in April or May.  With the exception of Memphis, rates have resumed their decline over the past two to three months.  The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for Fayetteville fell below 4.0% for the first time since April 2008.  At the other extreme, unemployment in Pine Bluff has yet to fall below 7.5%.

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

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

Payroll Employment
Data on nonfarm payroll employment (seasonally adjusted) show mixed changes on a month-to-month basis.  Metro areas showing employment losses in July included Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Memphis, and Pine Bluff.  Increases were recorded for Jonesboro, Little Rock, and Texarkana.  Compared to a year ago, employment is up for six of eight metro areas covering parts of Arkansas, with only Fort Smith and Pine Bluff registering year-over-year declines.  The news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that Pine Bluff had the largest year-over-year percentage decline in the nation.  A rather sharp monthly drop in Hot Springs dropped the employment total for that metro area back below pre-recession levels, after having briefly moved into positive territory in June.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

Arkansas Employment and Unemployment – July 2015

By , August 21, 2015 10:34 AM

The unemployment rate in Arkansas declined by 0.1% in July, bringing the rate back down to where it was in March — 5.6%.  The national unemployment rate in July was 5.3%.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Arkansas’ labor force contracted slightly in July as the number of unemployed dropped (-1,300) by more than the increase in the number of employed (+1,000).  July’s small labor force contraction followed 14 consecutive months of increase.

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

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

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payrolls expanded by 1,200 in July (seasonally adjusted).  Employment in the construction sector showed a particularly sharp increase for the month (+1,800), bringing the 12-month cumulative growth in that sector to 6,800 jobs.  Professional and Business services also showed a robust gain (+1,000).  Several sectors saw job losses in July, including Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade.  Overall, payroll employment over the past 12 months has increased by 28,400 jobs — a growth rate of 2.4%.

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 2015

By , July 29, 2015 12:53 PM

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that unemployment rates in Arkansas metro areas are all down from a year ago, but the pace of decline has slowed.  On a year-over-year basis, the state-wide not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen by 0.6%.  In six of the eight metro areas that include parts of Arkansas, rates have fallen by more than that.

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

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

On a month-to-month basis, seasonally-adjusted metropolitan area estimates show the unemployment declining in all eight metro areas in June.  In six of the eight metro areas, the June decline was larger than the 0.1% drop in the statewide data.  Unemployment rates are now at 5% or lower in four of the state’s metro areas.

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

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

As shown in the figure below, the seasonally adjusted estimates rose somewhat in the earlier part of this year, particularly in metro areas with relatively high unemployment rates.  Hence, unemployment rates in those areas are unchanged or up slightly compared to their low points earlier this year.  In the four metro areas with the lowest unemployment rates, however, the trend continues downward.  Where unemployment rates are at or below 5%, we should not expect significant further reductions.

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

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

Payroll Employment
Nonfarm payroll employment rose in June for six of the eight metro areas, but was down in Fort Smith and Pine Bluff.  Those two metro areas are also the only two that have experienced declines over the past 12 months as well.  According to the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pine Bluff retains the dubious distinction of having the largest percentage decline in employment nationwide.  On a more positive note, a 1.3% employment increase in Hot Springs made that metro area the fourth in the state to break the barrier of having higher employment now than before the 2008-09 recession.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

The figure below illustrates the wide range of payroll employment growth since the onset of the recession (smoothed, by taking quarterly averages of the monthly figures).  In Jonesboro, employment is nearly 13% higher than it was in the fourth quarter of 2007.  At the other extreme, employment in Pine Bluff has fallen by more than 16% over the same period.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics

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