August jobless rates down in most Arkansas metro areas

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 359 views 

Five of the eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas posted jobless rate declines in August compared to July, and three areas had a jobless rate less than the state rate of 7.4% in August, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data posted Wednesday (Sept. 30).

Arkansas’ three largest in-state metro regions – central Arkansas, Fort Smith metro and Northwest Arkansas – combined for 42,581 job losses in August compared with August 2019. The losses in the three metros account for 61.6% of all job losses in the state during August.

The August numbers from BLS show the fifth full month of COVID disruption on the state economy. The number of unemployed in the central Arkansas metro was 29,400 in August, up from the 11,926 in August 2019. The region’s jobless rate was 8.4% in August, above the 2.7% in August 2019, and above the 8.3% in July

Northwest Arkansas had 15,964 unemployed in August, up from the 7,580 in August 2019. The region’s jobless rate was 5.7%, up from 2.7% in August 2019 and unchanged from July. The Fort Smith metro had 7,727 unemployed in August, up from the 4,437 in August 2019. The Fort Smith metro jobless rate was 6.6%, up from 3.7% in August 2019, and down from 7.2% in July.

Northwest Arkansas had the lowest metro jobless rate in August (5.7%), and the Memphis-West Memphis area had the highest at 11.8%. Arkansas’ August jobless rate was 7.4%, up from 7.1% in July, but above the 3.6% in August 2019.

NATIONAL NUMBERS
Unemployment rates were higher in August than a year earlier in 387 of the 389 metropolitan areas and lower in 2 areas. The BLS report also noted that 37 metro areas had jobless rates of less than 5% and 6 areas had rates of at least 15%.

El Centro, Calif., had the highest unemployment rate in August at 22.9%, followed by Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii, at 20.7%. Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Logan, Utah-Idaho, had the lowest unemployment rates at 2.7% each. A total of 267 areas had August jobless rates below the U.S. rate of 8.5%, 111 areas had rates above it, and 11 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.

METRO JOBS DATA
Following are labor market data for the eight metro areas.
• Northwest Arkansas
Labor force
August 2020: 278,548
August 2019: 281,309

Employment
August 2020: 262,584
August 2019: 273,729

Unemployed
August 2020: 15,964
August 2019: 7,580

Jobless rate
August 2020: 5.7%
August 2019: 2.7%

• Fort Smith metro
Labor force
August 2020: 117,261
August 2019: 118,957

Employment
August 2020: 109,534
August 2019: 114,520

Unemployed
August 2020: 7,727
August 2019: 4,437

Jobless rate
August 2020: 6.6%
August 2019: 3.7%

• Hot Springs
Labor force
August 2020: 42,512
August 2019: 41,798

Employment
August 2020: 38,718
August 2019: 40,210

Unemployed
August 2020: 4,334
August 2019: 1,568

Jobless rate
August 2020: 10.2%
August 2019: 3.8%

• Jonesboro
Labor force
August 2020: 66,901
August 2019: 65,955

Employment
August 2020: 62,456
August 2019: 63,998

Unemployed
August 2020: 4,445
August 2019: 1,957

Jobless rate
August 2020: 6.6%
August 2019: 3%

• Central Arkansas
Labor force
August 2020: 351,468
August 2019: 360,444

Employment
August 2020: 322,068
August 2019: 348,518

Unemployed
August 2020: 29,400
August 2019: 11,926

Jobless rate
August 2020: 8.4%
August 2019: 3.3%

• Memphis/West Memphis
Labor force
August 2020: 661,502
August 2019: 644,138

Employment
August 2020: 583,514
August 2019: 616,822

Unemployed
August 2020: 77,988
August 2019: 27,316

Jobless rate
August 2020: 11.8%
August 2019: 4.2%

• Pine Bluff
Labor force
August 2020: 39,143
August 2019: 39,912

Employment
August 2020: 30,874
August 2019: 33,054

Unemployed
August 2020: 3,269
August 2019: 1,858

Jobless rate
August 2020: 9.6%
August 2019: 5.3%

• Texarkana (Arkansas-Texas)
Labor force
August 2020: 65,804
August 2019: 64,651

Employment
August 2020: 61,377
August 2019: 61,735

Unemployed
August 2020: 4,427
August 2019: 2,916

Jobless rate
August 2020: 6.7%
August 2019: 4.5%

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