NWA economy sees jobless rate rise in May

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 28 views 

An estimated decline of more than 1,000 employed in the Northwest Arkansas during May raised the region’s jobless rate to 5.7%, just ahead of the April rate of 5.3% but below the 6.1% of May 2011.

However, the Northwest Arkansas economy continues to see record growth in the size of its workforce.

According to figures released Wednesday (June 27) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the size of the regional workforce during May was 240,823, slightly ahead of the revised 240,806 during April and more than 8,000 compared to the 232,776 during May 2011. The average annual monthly labor size was 231,461 during 2011, 227,938 during 2010 and 225,177 during 2009.

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.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS METRO NUMBERS
The number of employed during May was an estimated 227,111, down from 228,147 in April and up 3.9% compared to the 218,583 employed in the region during May 2011.

Unemployed persons in the region totaled 13,712 during May, up from a revised 12,659 during April and below the 14,193 during May 2011.

The Northwest Arkansas manufacturing sector employed an estimated 27,900 in May, up compared to 27,200 in April, and just below the 28,000 during May 2011. Sector employment is down more than 20.6% from more than a decade ago when January 2002 manufacturing employment in the metro area stood at 34,300.

Jobs in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — the region’s largest job sector —  totaled 46,600 in May, down from 47,400 during April, and up from the 45,900 during May 2011. Employment in the sector is off from the high of 50,500 posted in December 2006.

Employment in the region’s tourism industry was 20,600 during May, up from 20,500 in April and up from 19,200 during May 2011. May employment in the sector set a new record.

In Education & Health Services, employment was 23,800 during May, down from 23,900 during April and up from 22,600 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%

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%

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%