NWA sees 4,700-plus job gain year-over-year

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 81 views 

The Northwest Arkansas employment picture during December was not as rosy as November, but the region continues to see gains when compared to the previous year.

December’s jobless rate in Northwest Arkansas was 5.1%, up compared to 4.6% in November but below the 5.7% during December 2011.

All of the eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas had jobless rate increases in December compared to November, and all eight areas had jobless rate declines compared to December 2011.

During December, the lowest metro jobless rate was in Northwest Arkansas and the highest rate was 9% in the Pine Bluff area.

According to figures released Wednesday (Jan. 30) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the size of the Northwest Arkansas regional workforce during December was 235,174, down from the 237,860 during November, but almost 3,500 larger than the 231,708 during December 2011.

Northwest Arkansas continues to trend upward in that category. The average annual monthly labor size was 231,461 during 2011, 227,938 during 2010 and 225,177 during 2009.

The number of employed during December was 223,228, down from 226,883 in November. The December employment was more than 4,700 jobs higher than the 218,463 in December 2011.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS METRO NUMBERS
Unemployed persons in the region totaled 11,946 during December, more than the 10,977 during November, but well below the 13,245 during December 2011.

The Northwest Arkansas manufacturing sector employed an estimated 28,100 in December, unchanged compared to November, but ahead of the 27,400 during December 2011. Sector employment is down more than 18% 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 48,300 in December, down from 48,400 during November, and up from the 46,800 during December 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 19,800 during December, down from 20,200 in November and up from 18,500 during December 2011. Employment in the sector set a new record (20,800) in June.

In Education & Health Services, employment was 24,500 during December, down from 24,600 during November and up from 23,000 during December 2011.

NATIONAL NUMBERS
Unemployment rates were lower in December than a year earlier in 290 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 68 areas, and unchanged in 14 areas, noted the broad BLS report.

The U.S. unemployment rate in December was 7.8%, down from 8.5% from a year earlier. Arkansas’ jobless rate was 7.1% in December, up from 7% in November and below the 7.8% rate in December 2011.

Oklahoma’s jobless rate during December was 5.1%, down from 5.2% during November, and below the 6.3% during December 2011. The Missouri jobless rate during December was 6.7%, unchanged compared to November and below the 8% during December 2011.

ARKANSAS METRO AREAS
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
Dec. 2012: 5.1%
Nov. 2012: 4.6%
Dec. 2011: 5.7%

Fort Smith
Dec. 2012: 8.1%
Nov. 2012: 7.6%
Dec. 2011: 8.5%

Hot Springs
Dec. 2012: 7.5%
Nov. 2012: 6.9%
Dec. 2011: 8.1%

Jonesboro
Dec. 2012: 6.8%
Nov. 2012: 6.2%
Dec. 2011: 7.2%

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway
Dec. 2012: 6.3%
Nov. 2012: 5.8%
Dec. 2011: 6.7%

Memphis-West Memphis
Dec. 2012: 8.6%
Nov. 2012: 7.7%
Dec. 2011: 8.9%

Pine Bluff
Dec. 2012: 9%
Nov. 2012: 8.2%
Dec. 2011: 9.7%

Texarkana
Dec. 2012: 5.7%
Nov. 2012: 5.4%
Dec. 2011: 6.9%

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%