All Arkansas metro areas post April jobless rate declines, rates range from 2.6% to 4.6%

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 25 views 

Editor’s note: This story is a component of The Compass Report. The quarterly Compass Report is managed by Talk Business & Politics, and sponsored by Lowell-based Zero Mountain Logistics, a subsidiary of Fort Smith-based Zero Mountain. Supporting sponsors of The Compass Report are Cox Communications and the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce.
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The April jobless rate fell in all Arkansas metro areas, with the number of jobs created year-over-year in the state’s four largest metro areas accounting for 61.2% of all new jobs, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data posted Wednesday (June 1).

Jobless rates ranged from a low of 2.4% in Northwest Arkansas to a high of 4.6% in the Pine Bluff metro. All of the eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas had jobless rate declines in April compared to April 2015, and all eight had declines compared to March. (See charts at the end of this report.)

The BLS data – which is subject to revision – showed there were 34,383 jobs created between April 2015 and April 2016 in the state’s four largest metro areas. Northwest Arkansas had the most with 16,021 new jobs (up 6.63% compared to April 2015), followed by central Arkansas with 13,072 (up 3.96%),the Jonesboro metro 5,345 new jobs (up 5.82%), and the Fort Smith metro with 1,945 new jobs (up 1.6%).

There were an estimated 56,173 new jobs in Arkansas between April 2015-April 2016, according to the federal numbers.

Following are key jobs data on the four large metro areas.

CENTRAL ARKANSAS METRO
The central Arkansas metro area jobless rate was 3% in April, down from 3.6% in March and below the 4.7% in April 2015.

The size of the central Arkansas regional workforce during April was estimated at 353,334, below the 334,046 in March, and well above the 345,654 in April 2015.

compassreport2016zeromtlog Central Arkansas’ metro employment of 342,636 in April was above the 341,337 in March, and up almost 4% compared to the 329,564 during April 2015. The April employment numbers sets a new record for the state’s capitol city metro.

The number of unemployed in the region totaled an estimated 10,698 during April, down from the 12,704 during March, and well below the 16,090 during April 2015.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS METRO
The Northwest Arkansas metro jobless rate was 2.4% in April, down from 2.9% in March, and lower than the 3.8% in April 2015. The historic jobless low for the metro is 2.1%, and was last reached in November 1999.

The size of the Northwest Arkansas regional workforce during April was 263,820, up from 263,746 during March, and well above the 250,939 in April 2015.

The number of employed in Northwest Arkansas totaled 257,388 in April, above the 256,121 in March, and up 6.6% from the 241,367 employed in April 2015. The April employment numbers sets a new record for the region.

Unemployed persons in the region totaled an estimated 6,432 during April, down from the 7,625 during March, and below the 9,572 during April 2015.

FORT SMITH METRO
Fort Smith’s metro jobless rate was 4.1% in April, down from 4.6% in March, and lower than the 5.5% in April 2015.

The size of the Fort Smith regional workforce during April was 121,657, down from 122,143 during March, and up slightly from the 121,434 in April 2015. The labor force reached a revised high of 132,004 in June 2007, meaning the April workforce size is down 7.83% from the peak number.

The number of employed in the Fort Smith region totaled 116,639 in April, just above the 116,494 in March, and up 1.6% from the 114,696 employed in April 2015. The number of employed in the metro area is down 7% compared to the high of 125,426 in June 2006.

Unemployed persons in the region totaled an estimated 5,018 during April, down from the 5,649 during March, and well below the 10,060 during April 2015.

JONESBORO METRO
The Jonesboro metro area jobless rate was 2.8% in April, down from 3.5% in March and below the 4.2% in April 2015. April marks the first time the metro has posted a rate below 3%.

The size of the Jonesboro regional workforce during April was estimated at 62,591, just below the 62,885 in March, and above the 60,303 in April 2015.

Jonesboro metro employment during April of 60,812 was just above the 60,704 in March, and up 5.8% compared to the 57,467 during April 2015. April marked a record for employment in the Jonesboro metro.

The number of unemployed in the region totaled an estimated 1,779 during April, down from 2,181 during March, and below the 2,836 during April 2015.

NATIONAL NUMBERS
Unemployment rates were lower in April than a year earlier in 269 of the 387 metropolitan areas, higher in 94 areas, and unchanged in 24 areas, noted the broad BLS report.

The U.S. unemployment rate in April was 5%, unchanged compared to March and down from 5.4% from a year earlier. Arkansas’ jobless rate was 3.9% in April, down from 4.1% in March and down from 5.5% in April 2015.

ARKANSAS METRO AREAS
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
April 2016: 2.4%
March 2016: 2.9%
April 2015: 3.8%

Fort Smith
April 2016: 4.1%
March 2016: 4.6%
April 2015: 5.5%

Hot Springs
April 2016: 3.5%
March 2016: 4.2%
April 2015: 5.5%

Jonesboro
April 2016: 2.8%
March 2016: 3.5%
April 2015: 4.2%

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway
April 2016: 3%
March 2016: 3.6%
April 2015: 4.7%

Memphis-West Memphis
April 2016: 4.4%
March 2016: 4.7%
April 2015: 6%

Pine Bluff
April 2016: 4.6%
March 2016: 5.4%
April 2015: 6.9%

Texarkana
April 2016: 3.8%
March 2016: 4.3%
April 2015: 4.7%

CENTRAL ARKANSAS METRO HISTORY
Past annual average unemployment rates
2015: 4.7%
2014: 5.5%
2013: 6.5%
2012: 6.7%
2011: 7.3%
2010: 7.2%
2009: 6.7%
2008: 4.7%
2007: 4.6%
2006: 4.6%
2005: 4.7%
2004: 5.1%
2003: 5.2%
2002: 4.9%
2001: 4.3%
2000: 3.7%

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS METRO HISTORY
Past annual average unemployment rates
2015: 3.8%
2014: 4.6%
2013: 5.6%
2012: 5.9%
2011: 6.5%
2010: 6.7%
2009: 6.4%
2008: 4.2%
2007: 3.8%
2006: 3.5%
2005: 3.4%
2004: 3.8%
2003: 3.8%
2002: 3.4%
2001: 3.1%
2000: 3.4%

FORT SMITH METRO HISTORY
Past annual average unemployment rates
2015: 5.5%
2014: 6.2%
2013: 8%
2012: 8.1%
2011: 8.8%
2010: 8.5%
2009: 8.3%
2008: 5.1%
2007: 5.2%
2006: 4.8%
2005: 4.6%
2004: 5.2%
2003: 5.6%
2002: 5%
2001: 4.4%
2000: 3.7%

JONESBORO METRO HISTORY
Past annual average unemployment rates
2015: 4.8%
2014: 5.8%
2013: 7%
2012: 7.2%
2011: 7.8%
2010: 7.8%
2009: 7.4%
2008: 5.2%
2007: 5.4%
2006: 5.2%
2005: 5.1%
2004: 5.7%
2003: 6%
2002: 5.7%
2001: 5.3%
2000: 4.2%

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