Sales tax collections — to include hospitality taxes —home sales activity and enplanement figures in the area are positive, but high jobless numbers continue to place downward pressure on the regional economy, according to data compiled for the February-March 2012 Numbers by the Wire report.
With announced plant closures set to begin in June, area jobless numbers may not improve in the near term.
The Fort Smith metro jobless rate was 9.1% in February, up from 8.9% in January.
The number of employed in the Fort Smith region during February was an estimated 116,405, up from a revised 116,098 during January, but more than 5.2% below the 122,835 employed in the region during February 2011.
Based on the figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were an estimated 6,430 fewer people employed in the Fort Smith metro area during February compared to February 2011.
Home sales in Crawford and Sebastian counties totaled 209 in the January-February period, up from 190 in the 2011 period.
Funded and managed by The City Wire and presented by Benefit Bank, The Compass Report is a quarterly regional economic report with data collection and analysis handled by Jeff Collins, a nationally known economist based in Springdale and co-founder of Streetsmart Data Services. Cox Communications and the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce also help sponsor the report.
Link here for the February-March 2012 edition (PDF) of Numbers by the Wire.