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Jobless rates in August declined in all Arkansas metro areas

2020-unemployment.jpg
Jacqueline Froelich
/
KUAF News
People lined up to apply for unemployment assistance in 2020 at an Arkansas Division of Workforce Services office in Fayetteville.

Jobless rates in all eight metro areas within or including parts of Arkansas were down compared with August 2021, and all areas posted year-over-year job gains. The largest job growth was in Northwest Arkansas, which added an estimated 12,880 jobs since August 2021.

August jobless rates ranged from 2.5% in Northwest Arkansas to 5.8% in the Pine Bluff metro, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The August report is preliminary and subject to revisions.

Arkansas’ three largest metro regions – areas with most of the workforce in the state – accounted for 81% of the state’s 28,185 year-over-year job gains in August, with the Northwest Arkansas metro accounting for 45.7% of the increase.

Central Arkansas – Little Rock, North Little Rock and Conway – had 343,237 employed in August, up 7,596 jobs, from the 335,641 in August 2021. The region’s jobless rate was 3.4% in August, below the 4% in August 2021.

Northwest Arkansas, the state’s second-largest metro area, had an estimated 290,310 jobs in August, up 12,880 jobs from the 277,430 in August 2021. The region’s jobless rate was 2.5% in August, below 2.8% in August 2021.

The Fort Smith metro, Arkansas’ third largest metro, had an estimated 113,222 jobs in August, up 2,358 jobs from 110,864 in August 2021. The region’s jobless rate was 3.4% in August, below 3.7% in August 2021. Regional employment remains well below the peak of 124,098 in August 2006.

NATIONAL NUMBERS

Unemployment rates were lower in August than a year earlier in 384 of the 389 metropolitan areas and higher in 5 areas. A total of 90 areas had less than 3% jobless rates, and two areas had rates of at least 10%.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 101 metro areas and was essentially unchanged in 288 areas. The national unemployment rate in August was 3.8%, not seasonally adjusted, down from 5.3% a year earlier.

In August, the following three areas had the lowest unemployment rates at 1.7% each:
Burlington-South Burlington, Vt.; Fargo, N.D.-Minn.; and Mankato-North Mankato, Minn. Yuma, Ariz., had the highest rate at 21%. A total of 209 areas had August jobless rates below the U.S. rate of 3.8%, 161 areas had rates above it, and 19 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 2022: 297,673
August 2021: 285,280

Employment
August 2022: 290,310
August 2021: 277,430
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 279,486

Unemployed
August 2022: 7,363
August 2021: 7,850

Jobless rate
August 2022: 2.5%
August 2021: 2.8%

Fort Smith metro (Arkansas-Oklahoma)
Labor force
August 2022: 117,262
August 2021: 115,121

Employment
August 2022: 113,222
August 2021: 110,864
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 112,650

Unemployed
August 2022: 4,040
August 2021: 4,257

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

Hot Springs
Labor force
August 2022: 41,318
August 2021: 40,874

Employment
August 2022: 39,588
August 2021: 39,055
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 40,128

Unemployed
August 2022: 1,730
August 2021: 1,819

Jobless rate
August 2022: 4.2%
August 2021: 4.5%

Jonesboro
Labor force
August 2022: 66,125
August 2021: 64,919

Employment
August 2022: 64,105
August 2021: 62,821
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 64,348

Unemployed
August 2022: 2,020
August 2021: 2,098

Jobless rate
August 2022: 3.1%
August 2021: 3.2%

Central Arkansas
Labor force
August 2022: 355,499
August 2021: 349,514

Employment
August 2022: 343,237
August 2021: 335,641
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 343,937

Unemployed
August 2022: 12,262
August 2021: 13,873

Jobless rate
August 2022: 3.4%
August 2021: 4%

Memphis/West Memphis
Labor force
August 2022: 646,237
August 2021: 644,502

Employment
August 2022: 615,600
August 2021: 604,084
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 605,300

Unemployed
August 2022: 30,637
August 2021: 40,418

Jobless rate
August 2022: 4.7%
August 2021: 6.3%

Pine Bluff
Labor force
August 2022: 33,165
August 2021: 32,532

Employment
August 2022: 31,242
August 2021: 30,616
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 32,283

Unemployed
August 2022: 1,923
August 2021: 1,916

Jobless rate
August 2022: 5.8%
August 2021: 5.9%

Texarkana (Arkansas-Texas)
Labor force
August 2022: 63,800
August 2021: 63,072

Employment
August 2022: 60,930
August 2021: 59,805
March 2020 (pre-pandemic): 60,079

Unemployed
August 2022: 2,870
August 2021: 3,267

Jobless rate
August 2022: 4.5%
August 2021: 5.2%

This story comes from the staff of Talk Business & Politics, a content partner with KUAR News. You can hear the weekly program on Mondays at 6:06 p.m.