Unemployment rates were generally lower in Arkansas’ metro areas in July. Compared to July of 2017, rates were lower in all metro areas except for Memphis and Texarkana (not-seasonally adjusted data). Today’s data release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that rates were “lower in July than a year earlier in 323 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 41 areas, and unchanged in 24 areas.” Measured using seasonally adjusted data, unemployment rates were also down from the previous month in all metro areas except Memphis.
The unemployment rate declines registered in July contribute to a downward shift in rates over the past three months. From April to July, rates were down by magnitudes ranging from -0.2 percentage points in Jonesboro to -0.6 percentage points in Little Rock. The exceptions were again Memphis and Texarkana, each of which has seen the unemployment rate creep upward by 0.4 percentage points since April.
Nonfarm payroll employment showed mixed changes in July. Little Rock, Memphis and Pine Bluff all saw monthly increases, while Fort Smith and Hot Springs experienced declines. Payroll employment was essentially unchanged in Fayetteville, Jonesboro and Texarkana. Compared to a year ago, employment is up an all metro areas except Hot Springs. The areas with the strongest employment growth continue to be in the Northwest and Northeast corners of the state – Fayetteville and Jonesboro.