January jobless rates in Arkansas metro areas up from December

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 306 views 

Jobless rates in all eight metro areas within or including parts of Arkansas were down compared with January 2021, but higher than December. Fort Smith, Hot Springs and Texarkana metros also posted lower employment in January compared with January 2021.

January jobless rates ranged from 2.6% in Northwest Arkansas to 7.2% in the Pine Bluff metro, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The January report is preliminary and subject to revisions.

Arkansas’ three largest metro regions – areas with most of the workforce in the state – accounted for 36.2% the state’s 24,045 year-over-year job gains in January, even with the Fort Smith metro posting a jobs decline.

Central Arkansas – Little Rock, North Little Rock and Conway – had 337,160 employed in January, up 3,580 jobs, from the 333,580 in January 2020. The region’s jobless rate was 3.7% in January, below the 5.3% in January 2020.

Northwest Arkansas, the state’s second largest metro area, had an estimated 280,987 jobs in January, up 5,114 jobs from the 275,873 in January 2020. The region’s jobless rate was 2.6% in January, below the 3.7% in January 2020.

The Fort Smith metro, Arkansas’ third largest metro, had an estimated 111,834 jobs in January, down from 112,895 in January 2020. The region’s jobless rate was 3.5% in January, below the 5% in January 2020. Regional employment remains well below the peak of 124,098 in June 2006.

NATIONAL NUMBERS
Unemployment rates were lower in January than a year earlier in 388 of the 389 metro areas and higher in 1 area, according to the BLS. A total of 49 areas had jobless rates of less than 3% and 3 areas had rates of at least 10%. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 154 metropolitan areas and was essentially unchanged in 235 areas. The national unemployment rate in January was 4.4%, not seasonally adjusted, down from 6.8% a year earlier.

In January, Elkhart-Goshen, Ind., had the lowest unemployment rate at 1.6%, followed by Columbus, Ind., at 1.9%. El Centro, Calif., had the highest rate at 15.6%. A total of 228 areas had January jobless rates below the U.S. rate of 4.4%, 151 areas had rates above it, and 10 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 2022: 288,521
January 2021: 286,327

Employment
January 2022: 280,987
January 2021: 275,873
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 279,302

Unemployed
January 2022: 7,534
January 2021: 10,454

Jobless rate
January 2022: 2.6%
January 2021: 3.7%

• Fort Smith metro (Arkansas-Oklahoma)
Labor force
January 2022: 115,902
January 2021: 118,886

Employment
January 2022: 111,834
January 2021: 112,895
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 112,997

Unemployed
January 2022: 4,068
January 2021: 5,991

Jobless rate
January 2022: 3.5%
January 2021: 5%

• Hot Springs
Labor force
January 2022: 39,596
January 2021: 41,242

Employment
January 2022: 37,783
January 2021: 38,549
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 40,163

Unemployed
January 2022: 1,813
January 2021: 2,693

Jobless rate
January 2022: 4.6%
January 2021: 6.5%

• Jonesboro
Labor force
January 2022: 65,322
January 2021: 62,735

Employment
January 2022: 63,325
January 2021: 62,735
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 264,360

Unemployed
January 2022: 1,997
January 2021: 2,822

Jobless rate
January 2022: 3.1%
January 2021: 4.3%

• Central Arkansas
Labor force
January 2022: 350,252
January 2021: 352,286

Employment
January 2022: 337,160
January 2021: 333,580
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 344,136

Unemployed
January 2022: 13,092
January 2021: 18,706

Jobless rate
January 2022: 3.7%
January 2021: 5.3%

• Memphis/West Memphis
Labor force
January 2022: 645,870
January 2021: 642,572

Employment
January 2022: 611,984
January 2021: 597,746
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 604,469

Unemployed
January 2022: 33,886
January 2021: 44,826

Jobless rate
January 2022: 5.2%
January 2021: 7%

• Pine Bluff
Labor force
January 2022: 32,469
January 2021: 34,577

Employment
January 2022: 30,461
January 2021: 32,871
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 32,348

Unemployed
January 2022: 2,008
January 2021: 2,494

Jobless rate
January 2022: 6.2%
January 2021: 7.2%

• Texarkana (Arkansas-Texas)
Labor force
January 2022: 63,528
January 2021: 63,560

Employment
January 2022: 60,362
January 2021: 59,366

Unemployed
January 2022: 3,166
January 2021: 4,194

Jobless rate
January 2022: 5%
January 2021: 6.6%