Unemployment rates in Arkansas metro areas were generally lower in December than in November. Although the raw not-seasonally adjusted figures show increases in all eight metro areas that include parts of Arkansas, the end of year is typically associated with seasonal upticks in unemployment associated with academic breaks. After seasonal adjustment, unemployment rates declined Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Jonesboro and Pine Bluff. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates were unchanged in Hot Springs and Little Rock, while increasing slightly in Memphis and Texarkana.
Compared to year earlier, Decembers metro unemployment rates continued to show significant declines. From December 2015 through December 2016, unemployment rates declined by 0.1% (Texarkana) to 1.2% (Pine Bluff).
Nonfarm Payroll Employment in December was up 0.7% in Jonesboro and 0.4% in Fort Smith, but was lower in 5 of the state’s metro areas. Compared to December 2015 employment was higher in most metro areas, with particularly large gains in Jonesboro. Tow metro areas, Pine Bluff and Texarkana showed year-over-year declines in employment. Those two metro areas also showed longer-term declines, with employment lower than the post-recession trough point of February 2010. Five of the state’s eight metro areas have yet to reach pre-recession (December 2007) employment levels. Eight years after the onset of the 2008-09 recession, only Little Rock, Fayetteville and Jonesboro have shown net gains.