All Arkansas metro areas see year-over-year job gains in July

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 457 views 

Jobless rates in seven of the eight metro areas within or including parts of Arkansas were down compared with July 2021, and all areas posted year-over-year job gains. The largest job growth was in Northwest Arkansas which added an estimated 13,455 since July 2021.

July jobless rates ranged from 2.8% in Northwest Arkansas to 6.7% in the Pine Bluff metro, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The July report is preliminary and subject to revisions.

Arkansas’ three largest metro regions – areas with most of the workforce in the state – accounted for 80% the state’s 33,357 year-over-year job gains in July, with the Northwest Arkansas metro accounting for 40.3% of the increase.

Central Arkansas – Little Rock, North Little Rock and Conway – had 348,222 employed in July, up 9,921 jobs, from the 338,301 in July 2021. The region’s jobless rate was 4% in July, below the 4.5% in July 2021.

Northwest Arkansas, the state’s second largest metro area, had an estimated 293,105 jobs in July, up 13,455 jobs from the 275,664 in July 2021. The region’s jobless rate was 2.8% in July, below the 3.2% in July 2021. The region’s labor force also topped 300,000 for the first time at 301,598. The June labor force number was initially estimated at 300,001, but was revised down to 299,593.

The Fort Smith metro, Arkansas’ third largest metro, had an estimated 114,273 jobs in July, up 2,695 jobs from 111,578 in July 2021. The region’s jobless rate was 3.8% in July, below the 4.2% in July 2021. Regional employment remains well below the peak of 124,098 in July 2006.

NATIONAL NUMBERS
Unemployment rates were lower in July than a year earlier in 383 of the 389 metropolitan areas, higher in 5 areas, and unchanged in 1 area. A total of 91 areas had jobless rates of less than 3% and 2 areas had rates of at least 10%. The U.S. unemployment rate in July was 3.8%, not seasonally adjusted, down from 5.7% a year earlier.

In July, the following seven areas had the lowest unemployment rates at 1.7% each: Burlington-South Burlington, Vt.; Fargo, N.D.-Minn.; Logan, Utah-Idaho; Mankato-North Mankato, Minn.; Portsmouth, N.H.-Maine; Rochester, Minn.; and Sioux Falls, S.D. Yuma, Ariz, had the highest rate at 18.4%. A total of 200 areas had July jobless rates below the U.S. rate of 3.8%, 176 areas had rates above it, and 13 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
July 2022: 301,598
July 2021: 288,851

Employment
July 2022: 293,105
July 2021: 279,650
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 279,486

Unemployed
July 2022: 8,493
July 2021: 9,201

Jobless rate
July 2022: 2.8%
July 2021: 3.2%

• Fort Smith metro (Arkansas-Oklahoma)
Labor force
July 2022: 118,771
July 2021: 116,514

Employment
July 2022: 114,273
July 2021: 111,578
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 112,650

Unemployed
July 2022: 4,498
July 2021: 4,936

Jobless rate
July 2022: 3.8%
July 2021: 4.2%

• Hot Springs
Labor force
July 2022: 42,215
July 2021: 42,012

Employment
July 2022: 40,141
July 2021: 39,812
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 40,128

Unemployed
July 2022: 2,074
July 2021: 2,200

Jobless rate
July 2022: 4.9%
July 2021: 5.2%

• Jonesboro
Labor force
July 2022: 67,809
July 2021: 66,230

Employment
July 2022: 65,481
July 2021: 63,770
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 64,348

Unemployed
July 2022: 2,328
July 2021: 2,460

Jobless rate
July 2022: 3.4%
July 2021: 3.7%

• Central Arkansas
Labor force
July 2022: 362,647
July 2021: 354,394

Employment
July 2022: 348,222
July 2021: 338,301
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 343,937

Unemployed
July 2022: 14,425
July 2021: 16,093

Jobless rate
July 2022: 4%
July 2021: 4.5%

• Memphis/West Memphis (Arkansas-Tennessee-Mississippi)
Labor force
July 2022: 657,246
July 2021: 652,528

Employment
July 2022: 621,949
July 2021: 606,064
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 605,300

Unemployed
July 2022: 35,297
July 2021: 46,464

Jobless rate
July 2022: 5.4%
July 2021: 7.7%

• Pine Bluff
Labor force
July 2022: 33,813
July 2021: 33,080

Employment
July 2022: 31,554
July 2021: 30,861
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 32,283

Unemployed
July 2022: 2,259
July 2021: 2,219

Jobless rate
July 2022: 6.7%
July 2021: 6.7%

• Texarkana (Arkansas-Texas)
Labor force
July 2022: 64,390
July 2021: 63,708

Employment
July 2022: 61,303
July 2021: 60,099
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 60,079

Unemployed
July 2022: 3,087
July 2021: 3,609

Jobless rate
July 2022: 4.8%
July 2021: 5.7%