September Jobless Rates Decline For Most Arkansas Metro Areas

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 58 views 

The jobs picture improved in September for the central Arkansas and Jonesboro metro areas, with the Little Rock region seeing an almost 4% year-over-year gain in the number of employed and the Jonesboro region up more than 6%.

All of the eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas had jobless rate declines in September compared to September 2014. Five areas (Northwest Arkansas, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Pine Bluff and Texarkana) had jobless rate decreases compared to August. During September, the lowest metro jobless rate in the state was 3.5% in Northwest Arkansas and the highest rate was 7% in the Pine Bluff area.

The jobless rate in the central Arkansas area during September was 4.4%, unchanged compared to August and below the 5.2% in September 2014.

Metro employment during September of 335,457 was below the 339,872 in August, and up 12,785 jobs compared to the 322,672 in September 2014. The size of the central Arkansas regional workforce during September was estimated at 350,742, below the 355,575 in August, but better than the 340,365 in September 2014.

The jobless rate in the Jonesboro metro area during September was 4.3%, below the 4.4% in August and below the 5.2% in September 2014.

Metro employment during September of 59,810 was just above the 59,660 in August, and up an estimated 3,536 jobs compared to the 56,274 in September 2014. The size of the Jonesboro regional workforce during September was estimated at 62,478, above the 62,418 in August, and better than the 59,390 in September 2014.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, FORT SMITH MARKETS
While the number of employed slipped a little from August, the September jobs picture in Northwest Arkansas remained on a positive track with the number of employed up 3.42% year-over-year.

The jobless rate in the metro area during September was 3.5%, down from 3.6% in August and below the 4.3% in September 2014. The area jobless rate has been at or below 6% for 26 consecutive months, and at or below 5% the previous 19 months.

Metro employment during September of 239,775 was below the 239,946 in August, and up 7,938 jobs, or 3.42%, compared to the 231,837 in September 2014. The size of the Northwest Arkansas regional workforce during September was estimated at 248,540, down from the 248,953 in August, and well above the the 242,252 in September 2014. The regional economy has more than fully recovered from the Great Recession. The Northwest Arkansas annual employment average in 2006, the year before the recession, was 218,779.

Although the Fort Smith region still has fewer people employed than prior to the Great Recession, the jobs picture is improving, with the number of unemployed declining in September and the number of employed up 1.63% year-over-year. Fort Smith’s metro jobless rate was 5.3% in September, just below the 5.4% in August, and lower than the 5.6% in September 2014.

The number of employed in the Fort Smith region totaled 114,367 in September, below the 114,482 in August, and up an estimated 1,837 jobs compared to the 112,530 employed in September 2014. The number of employed in the metro area is down 8.8% compared to the revised high of 125,426 in September 2006 – or more than 11,000 fewer jobs than the peak metro employment. Metro area employment averaged 111,588 in 2014, below the average of 122,993 in 2006.

ARKANSAS METRO AREAS
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
September 2015: 3.5%
August 2015: 3.6%
September 2014: 4.3%

Fort Smith
September 2015: 5.3%
August 2015: 5.4%
September 2014: 5.6%

Hot Springs
September 2015: 5.3%
August 2015: 5.3%
September 2014: 6.1%

Jonesboro
September 2015: 4.3%
August 2015: 4.4%
September 2014: 5.2%

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway
September 2015: 4.4%
August 2015: 4.4%
September 2014: 5.2%

Memphis-West Memphis
September 2015: 6.4%
August 2015: 6.4%
September 2014: 7.6%

Pine Bluff
September 2015: 7%
August 2015: 7.5%
September 2014: 7.7%

Texarkana
September 2015: 4.8%
August 2015: 5%
September 2014: 5.8%

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