Fort Smith area May jobless rate climbs

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 36 views 

Even with an estimated 400 job gain in the region’s troubled manufacturing sector, the jobless rate in the Fort Smith region during May was 7.7%, an increase compared to 7.3% in April, but below the 8.3% during May 2011.

However, the number of employed during May was 119,009, down 3.12% compared to the 122,849 during May 2011.

According to figures released Wednesday (June 27) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the size of the regional workforce during May was 128,899, ahead of the 126,011 during April, but well below the 134,029 during May 2011. The regional labor force consistently remained above 130,000 beginning in April 2004, but fell below 130,000 in December. The labor force reached a high of 139,544 in June 2008.

All of the eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas had jobless rate increases in May compared to April, but were all down compared to May 2011. During May, the lowest metro jobless rate was in Northwest Arkansas with 5.7% and the highest rate was 9.2% in Pine Bluff.

FORT SMITH METRO NUMBERS
Unemployed persons in the region totaled 9,890 during May, up from the 9,399 during April and below the 11,180 during May 2011.

The Fort Smith area manufacturing sector employed an estimated 19,300 in May, up compared to 18,900 in April, but below the 20,600 during May 2011. Employment in the sector is down more than 39% from more than a decade ago when January 2001 manufacturing employment in the metro area stood at 30,700.

Jobs in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — the region’s largest job sector —  totaled 23,300 in May, down from a revised 23,400 in April, and below the 24,000 during May 2011. Employment in the sector is off from the high of 25,700 posted in December 2007.

Employment in the region’s tourism industry was 8,700 during May, up from 8,600 in April and below the 8,800 during May 2011. The sector reached an employment high of 9,800 in August 2008.

In Education & Health Services, employment was 15,000 during May, unchanged from a revised April estimate, and below the 16,100 during May 2011.

NATIONAL NUMBERS
Unemployment rates were lower in May than a year earlier in 331 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 32 areas, and unchanged in 9 areas, noted the BLS report. Also, five areas recorded jobless rates of at least 15%, while 29 areas registered rates of less than 5%.

The U.S. unemployment rate in May was 8.2%, down from 9% from a year earlier.

Arkansas’ jobless rate was 7.3% in May, up from 7.2% during April and below the 8.1% rate in May 2011.

Oklahoma’s jobless rate during May was 4.8%, down from 5% during April, and below the 5.9% during May 2011. The Missouri jobless rate during May was 7.3%, unchanged from April, and below the 8.6% during May 2011.

ARKANSAS METRO AREAS
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
May 2012: 5.7%
April 2012: 5.3%
May 2011: 6.1%

Fort Smith
May 2012: 7.7%
April 2012: 7.1%
May 2011: 8.3%

Hot Springs
May 2012: 7.8%
April 2012: 7.2%
May 2011: 8.3%

Jonesboro
May 2012: 7%
April 2012: 6.5%
May 2011: 7.6%

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway
May 2012: 6.7%
April 2012: 6.2%
May 2011: 6.9%

Memphis-West Memphis
May 2012: 8.8%
April 2012: 8.4%
May 2011: 9.9%

Pine Bluff
May 2012: 9.2%
April 2012: 8.7%
May 2011: 10%

Texarkana
May 2012: 6.5%
April 2012: 6.3%
May 2011: 7.3%

FORT SMITH METRO AREA HISTORY
Past annual average unemployment rates
2011: 8.6%
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%

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS METRO AREA HISTORY
Past annual average unemployment rates
2011: 6.2%
2010: 6.5%
2009: 6.1%
2008: 4.1%
2007: 3.8%
2006: 3.6%
2005: 3.3%
2004: 3.8%
2003: 3.7%
2002: 3.3%
2001: 3%
2000: 2.9%