NWA jobless rate rises to 5.7% in June

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

The Northwest Arkansas metro jobless rate rose in June, with the continued rise in the number of employed not enough to counter the record growth in the workforce size.

The June jobless rate in the region was 5.7%, up slightly from 5.6% in May but better than the 5.9% in June 2012.

Six of the eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas had jobless rate increases in June compared to May, and four areas had jobless rate increases compared to June 2012.

During June, the lowest metro jobless rate in the state was in Northwest Arkansas with 5.7% and the highest rate was 10.1% in the Pine Bluff area.

According to figures released Wednesday (July 30) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the size of the Northwest Arkansas regional workforce during June was 240,971, up from the 239,978 during May, and ahead of the 233,667 during June 2012. June is the first month the region’s workforce has topped 240,000.

Northwest Arkansas continues to trend upward in that category. The average annual monthly labor size was 231,461 during 2012, 227,938 during 2010 and 225,177 during 2009.

The number of employed during June rose to 227,172 from 226,454 in May. The June employment was also 1.6% higher than the 223,587 in June 2012.

Mike Harvey, chief operating officer of the Northwest Arkansas Council, said the June report also indicates growth in a majority of job sectors.

“For me, the real positive aspect of this report is that not only are we having growth, but we’re having growth across the board,” Harvey said. “The thing I look at is, ‘Is an economy producing jobs that will create jobs for everybody?’ … from the starter jobs on up the scale.”

He said officials in Northwest Arkansas don’t get comfortable with the growth, but “are working hard to ensure that the economic diversity continues.”

Following are other key figures from the BLS metro report.
• Unemployed persons in the region totaled 13,799 during June, above the 13,524 during May and below the 14,080 during June 2012.

• The Northwest Arkansas manufacturing sector employed an estimated 26,900 in June, up compared to 26,500 in May, and above the 26,700 during June 2012. Sector employment is down more than 20% from more than a decade ago when June 2002 manufacturing employment in the metro area stood at 34,000.

• Jobs in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — the region’s largest job sector —  totaled 50,200 in June, up from 50,000 during May, and up from the 47,600 during June 2012. Employment in the sector is slightly off from the high of 50,500 posted in December 2006.

• Employment in the region’s tourism industry was 22,100 during June, up from 21,800 in May and up from 21,200 during June 2012. The June employment is a new record for the sector, although the figure could be revised in subsequent reports. The June report is also the third consecutive month the sector has posted record employment.

• In Education & Health Services, employment was 24,800 during June, down from 25,000 during May and up from 23,300 during June 2012.

• In the Government sector, employment was 28,900 during June, down from 30,700 in May and up compared to 28,500 during June 2012.

Unemployment rates were lower in June than a year earlier in 272 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 73 areas, and unchanged in 27 areas, noted the broad BLS report.

The U.S. unemployment rate in June was 7.6%, down from 8.2% from a year earlier. Arkansas’ jobless rate was 7.3% in June, unchanged from 7.3% in May and unchanged compared to in June 2012.

Oklahoma’s jobless rate during June was 5.2%, up from 5.1% in June, and unchanged compared to June 2012. The Missouri jobless rate during June was 6.9%, compared to 6.8% in May and down from 7% during June 2012.

June 2013: 5.7%
May 2013: 5.6%
June 2012: 5.9%

Fort Smith
June 2013: 7.7%
May 2013: 7.7%
June 2012: 7.6%

Hot Springs
June 2013: 7.7%
May 2013: 7.7%
June 2012: 7.7%

June 2013: 7.2%
May 2013: 6.9%
June 2012: 7.2%

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway
June 2013: 6.7%
May 2013: 6.6%
June 2012: 6.8%

Memphis-West Memphis
June 2013: 10%
May 2013: 9.6%
June 2012: 9.5%

Pine Bluff
June 2013: 10.1%
May 2013: 9.6%
June 2012: 9.5%

June 2013: 7.3%
May 2013: 7.1%
June 2012: 7.1%

Past annual average unemployment rates
2012: 5.6%
2012: 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%