January metro jobs data shows growth strong in Northwest Arkansas, Jonesboro

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 352 views 

January metro jobs data shows growth strong in Northwest Arkansas, Jonesboro

Northwest Arkansas posted the largest year-over-year job gain in the January jobs report among the eight metro areas in or including parts of Arkansas. The region had almost 10,000 new jobs between January 2019 and January 2020.

The state’s fastest growing region – home to Walmart Inc., Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt Transport Services and the University of Arkansas – had 272,592 jobs in January, up 3.76% from the 262,689 jobs in January 2019.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – the most recent available – show that the Pine Bluff metro was the only one of the eight to post a year-over-year jobs decline. That metro had an estimated 32,048 jobs in January, down 1.96% from January 2019.

The Jonesboro metro had the largest percentage year-over-year job growth with 3.94%

Year-over-year job growth rose just 0.36% in Arkansas, with the January jobless rate pegged at 3.5%, down from 3.6% in January 2019. Most of the state’s job growth was in the Education and Health Services sector which had 3,400 new year-over-year jobs. The number of employed in Arkansas during January was an estimated 1,318,224, up 4,697 jobs compared with January 2019.

Following are labor market data for the eight metro areas.

• Northwest Arkansas
Labor force
January 2020: 280,639
January 2019: 271,419

Employment
January 2020: 272,592
January 2019: 262,689

Unemployed
January 2020: 8,047
January 2019: 8,730

Jobless rate
January 2020: 2.9%
January 2019: 3.2%

• Fort Smith metro
Labor force
January 2020: 117,741
January 2019: 117,339

Employment
January 2020: 112,944
January 2019: 112,203

Unemployed
January 2020: 4,797
January 2019: 5,136

Jobless rate
January 2020: 4.1%
January 2019: 4.4%

• Hot Springs
Labor force
January 2020: 40,709
January 2019: 40,608

Employment
January 2020: 39,021
January 2019: 38,660

Unemployed
January 2020: 1,688
January 2019: 1,948

Jobless rate
January 2020: 4.1%
January 2019: 4.8%

• Jonesboro
Labor force
January 2020: 66,106
January 2019: 63,789

Employment
January 2020: 63,844
January 2019: 61,422

Unemployed
January 2020: 2,262
January 2019: 2,367

Jobless rate
January 2020: 3.4%
January 2019: 3.7%

• Central Arkansas
Labor force
January 2020: 354,136
January 2019: 350,889

Employment
January 2020: 341,078
January 2019: 337,077

Unemployed
January 2020: 13,058
January 2019: 13,812

Jobless rate
January 2020: 3.7%
January 2019: 3.9%

• Memphis/West Memphis
Labor force
January 2020: 637,578
January 2019: 634,327

Employment
January 2020: 609,177
January 2019: 606,879

Unemployed
January 2020: 28,401
January 2019: 27,448

Jobless rate
January 2020: 4.5%
January 2019: 4.3%

• Pine Bluff
Labor force
January 2020: 34,124
January 2019: 34,866

Employment
January 2020: 32,048
January 2019: 32,689

Unemployed
January 2020: 2,076
January 2019: 2,177

Jobless rate
January 2020: 6.1%
January 2019: 6.2%

• Texarkana (Arkansas-Texas)
Labor force
January 2020: 65,317
January 2019: 64,987

Employment
January 2020: 62,469
January 2019: 61,365

Unemployed
January 2020: 2,848
January 2019: 3,622

Jobless rate
January 2020: 4.4%
January 2019: 5.6%

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