Fort Smith metro jobless rate back above 8%

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 29 views 

The good news is that all eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas had jobless rate decreases in July compared to July 2011. Unfortunately, seven of the eight saw an increase in the jobless rate between June and July.

The July jobless rate in the Fort Smith region was 8.5%, almost a full percentage point above 7.7% in June, but below the 8.8% during July 2011, according to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The July report ended three consecutive months of the metro jobless rate being below 8%.

During July the lowest metro jobless rate was in Northwest Arkansas with 6.1%, and the highest rate was 9.8% in Pine Bluff. The Memphis-West Memphis metro jobless rate during July was 9.6%, unchanged from June.

“The not-seasonally-adjusted figures showed some sharp increases from the previous month, but these changes were driven by the typical summer upturn associated with students and teachers being off for the summer,” said Michael Pakko, University of Arkansas Institute for Economic Advance chief economist and state economic forecaster.

Nationwide, July jobless rates were higher in 276 of the 372 U.S. metro areas compared to July 2011.

The U.S. jobless rate during July was 8.3%, up from 8.2% in June and below 9.1% during July 2011. Oklahoma’s jobless rate was 4.9% in July, up from 4.7% in June and well below the 6.2% during July 2011. The jobless rate in Missouri during July was 7.2%, up from 7.1% during June and below the 8.6% during July 2011.

FORT SMITH METRO NUMBERS
The number of employed during July was an estimated 119,093, down from 120,542 in June and below the 120,407 employed in the region during July 2011

Unemployed persons in the region totaled 11,108 during July, up from the 10,032 during June and below the 11,666 during July 2011.

The Fort Smith area manufacturing sector employed an estimated 20,000 in July, up compared to 19,700 in June, and above the 19,100 during July 2011. Employment in the sector is down almost 35% 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 23,500 in July, down from 23,600 in June, and below the 23,900 during July 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 July, down from 8,800 in June and unchanged compared to July 2011. The sector reached an employment high of 9,800 in August 2008.

In Education & Health Services, employment was 14,900 during July, down from 15,000 in June estimate, and below the 15,900 during July 2011.

ARKANSAS METRO AREAS
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers

July 2012: 6.1%
June 2012: 5.7%
July 2011: 6.8%

Fort Smith
July 2012: 8.5%
June 2012: 7.7%
July 2011: 8.8%

Hot Springs
July 2012: 8%
June 2012: 7.6%
July 2011: 8.3%

Jonesboro
July 2012: 7.6%
June 2012: 7.1%
July 2011: 8.1%

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway
July 2012: 7%
June 2012: 6.6%
July 2011: 7.5%

Memphis-West Memphis
July 2012: 9.6%
June 2012: 9.6%
July 2011: 10.3%

Pine Bluff
July 2012: 9.8%
June 2012: 9.2%
July 2011: 10.9%

Texarkana
July 2012: 7%
June 2012: 6.9%
July 2011: 8.1%

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%