January jobless rates up in all Arkansas metros compared with January 2020

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 629 views 

Seven of the eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas posted jobless rate declines in January compared to December, and all areas had higher year-over-year jobless rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Two of Arkansas’ three largest in-state metro regions – central Arkansas and the Fort Smith metro – combined for an estimated 3,757 job losses in January compared with January 2020. The losses in the three metros account for 75.2% of all jobs losses in the state during January, with most of the losses in the central Arkansa region. The number of employed in Arkansas during January was an estimated 1,312,417, down 9,742 jobs compared with January 2020.

The January numbers from BLS show the 10th full month of COVID disruption on the state economy. The number of unemployed in the central Arkansas metro was 18,717 in January, up from the 13,060 in January 2020. The region’s jobless rate was 5.3% in January, above the 3.7% in January 2019, and above the 4.3% in December.

Northwest Arkansas had 10,477 unemployed in January, up from the 8,060 in January 2020. The region’s jobless rate was 3.7%, up from 2.9% in January 2020 and up from 3.1% in December. The Fort Smith metro had 5,984 unemployed in January, up from the 4,798 in January 2020. The Fort Smith metro jobless rate was 5%, up from 4.1% in January 2020, and up from 4.4% in December.

Northwest Arkansas had the lowest metro jobless rate in January (3.7%), and the Pine Bluff area had the highest at 7.3%. Arkansas’ January jobless rate was 4.6%, down from 4.9% in December, but above the 3.7% in January 2020.

NATIONAL NUMBERS
Unemployment rates were higher in January than a year earlier in 376 of the 389 metropolitan
areas, lower in 9 areas, and unchanged in 4 areas, according to the BLS report. A total of 21 areas had jobless rates of at least 10% and 34 had rates of less than 4%. Nonfarm payroll employment fell over the year in 218 metropolitan areas, increased in 1 area, and was essentially unchanged in 170 areas.

In January, El Centro, Calif., had the highest unemployment rate at 16.5%, while Logan, Utah-Idaho, had the lowest rate at 2.5%. A total of 247 areas had January jobless rates below the U.S. rate of 6.8%, 136 areas had rates above it, and 6 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
January 2021: 286,507
January 2020: 280,519

Employment
January 2021: 276,030
January 2020: 272,459

Unemployed
January 2021: 10,477
January 2020: 8,060

Jobless rate
January 2021: 3.7%
January 2020: 2.9%

• Fort Smith metro
Labor force
January 2021: 118,931
January 2020: 117,820

Employment
January 2021: 112,983
January 2020: 113,022

Unemployed
January 2021: 5,948
January 2020: 4,798

Jobless rate
January 2021: 5%
January 2020: 4.1%

• Hot Springs
Labor force
January 2021: 41,156
January 2020: 40,802

Employment
January 2021: 38,457
January 2020: 39,115

Unemployed
January 2021: 2,699
January 2020: 1,687

Jobless rate
January 2021: 6.6%
January 2020: 4.1%

• Jonesboro
Labor force
January 2021: 65,521
January 2020: 66,275

Employment
January 2021: 62,693
January 2020: 63,974

Unemployed
January 2021: 2,828
January 2020: 2,261

Jobless rate
January 2021: 4.3%
January 2020: 3.4%

• Central Arkansas
Labor force
January 2021: 352,247
January 2020: 353,879

Employment
January 2021: 333,530
January 2020: 340,819

Unemployed
January 2021: 18,717
January 2020: 13,060

Jobless rate
January 2021: 5.3%
January 2020: 3.7%

• Memphis/West Memphis
Labor force
January 2021: 642,312
January 2020: 638,277

Employment
January 2021: 597,423
January 2020: 610,044

Unemployed
January 2021: 44,889
January 2020: 28,233

Jobless rate
January 2021: 7%
January 2020: 4.4%

• Pine Bluff
Labor force
January 2021: 34,548
January 2020: 34,284

Employment
January 2021: 32,043
January 2020: 32,207

Unemployed
January 2021: 2,505
January 2020: 2,077

Jobless rate
January 2021: 7.3%
January 2020: 6.1%

• Texarkana (Arkansas-Texas)
Labor force
January 2021: 63,611
January 2020: 65,327

Employment
January 2021: 59,408
January 2020: 62,479

Unemployed
January 2021: 4,203
January 2020: 2,848

Jobless rate
January 2021: 6.6%
January 2020: 4.4%

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