Number of employed continues to decline in the Fort Smith metro

A continued decline in the size of the workforce and the number of employed edged the Fort Smith metro jobless rate to 6.4% in June compared to 6.3% in May. The rate was lower than the 8.2% in June 2013, but the number of employed in the region fell 2.24% in the 12-month period.

June’s data is subject to revision in future reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The size of the Fort Smith regional workforce during June was 126,822, down slightly from 126,971 during May, and well below the 132,323 during June 2013, according to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The labor force reached a revised high of 140,253 in June 2007, meaning the June workforce size is down 9.57% from the peak number.

The number of employed in the Fort Smith region totaled 118,751 in June, down from 118,929 in May, and an estimated 2,726 jobs below the 121,477 employed in June 2013.

Six of the eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas had jobless rate increases in June compared to May, but all had jobless rate declines compared to June 2013. Northwest Arkansas and central Arkansas jobless rates in June were unchanged compared to May. During June, the lowest metro jobless rate in the state was 4.9% in Northwest Arkansas and the highest rate was 8.7% in the Memphis-West Memphis area.

FORT SMITH METRO NUMBERS
Unemployed persons in the region totaled an estimated 8,071 during June, up from the 8,042 during May, but well below the 10,846 during June 2013.

The Fort Smith area manufacturing sector employed an estimated 18,400 in June, up from 18,200 in May, and unchanged compared to June 2013. Sector employment is down almost 36% from a decade ago when June 2004 manufacturing employment in the metro area stood at 28,500. Also, the annual average monthly employment in manufacturing has fallen from 28,900 in 2005, 19,200 in 2012, and to 18,300 in 2013.

Jobs in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — the region’s largest job sector —  totaled 24,400 in June, up from 24,300 in May, and above the 23,700 during June 2013. Employment in the sector reached a high of 25,700 in December 2007.

Employment in the region’s tourism industry was 9,600 during June, down from 9,700 in May and above the 9,400 in June 2013. The sector reached an employment high of 9,800 in August 2008.

In Education & Health Services, employment was 16,300 during June, down from 16,500 in May and below the 17,000 during June 2013. Annual average monthly employment in the sector has steadily grown since 2005 when it reached 14,000. In 2012 the average was 17,000, but fell slightly to 16,800 in 2013. Employment in the sector reached a record 17,300 in October 2012.

In the Government sector, employment was 18,800 during June, down compared to 19,700 in May and unchanged compared to June 2013.

NATIONAL NUMBERS
Unemployment rates were lower in June than a year earlier in 359 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 10 areas, and unchanged in three areas, noted the broad BLS report.

The U.S. unemployment rate in June was 6.1%, down from 7.5% from a year earlier. Arkansas’ jobless rate was 6.2% in June, down from 6.4% in May and down from 7.6% in June 2013.

Oklahoma’s jobless rate during June was 4.5%, down from 4.6% in May, and down compared to 5.5% in June 2013. The Missouri jobless rate during June was 6.5%, down from 6.6% in May and below the 6.8% in June 2013.

ARKANSAS METRO AREAS
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
June 2014: 4.9%
May 2014: 4.9%
June 2013: 6.1%

Fort Smith
June 2014: 6.4%
May 2014: 6.3%
June 2013: 8.2%

Hot Springs
June 2014: 6.5%
May 2014: 6.4%
June 2013: 7.9%

Jonesboro
June 2014: 6%
May 2014: 5.8%
June 2013: 7.5%

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway
June 2014: 5.8%
May 2014: 5.8%
June 2013: 7%

Memphis-West Memphis
June 2014: 8.7%
May 2014: 7.5%
June 2013: 10%

Pine Bluff
June 2014: 8.6%
May 2014: 8.4%
June 2013: 10.5%

Texarkana
June 2014: 6.3%
May 2014: 6.1%
June 2013: 7.5%

FORT SMITH METRO AREA HISTORY
Past annual average unemployment rates
2013: 8%
2012: 7.7%
2011: 8.3%
2010: 8.2%
2009: 7.9%
2008: 4.8%
2007: 5.3%
2006: 4.9%
2005: 4.5%
2004: 5.2%
2003: 5.5%
2002: 5%
2001: 4.2%
2000: 3.7%

Comments