Unemployment rates edged lower in Texarkana and Hot Springs in July, but were unchanged in Arkansas’ other metro areas. Unemployment in the Memphis metro area, which includes one county in Arkansas, was up by 0.2 percentage points to 4.2%. Unemployment rates were generally lower than a year earlier, with year-over-year changes ranging from -0.8 percentage points in Texarkana to -0.2 percentage points in Fayetteville and Little Rock. Two exceptions to the year-over-year declines were Pine Bluff (up 0.1 percentage point) and Memphis, where unemployment was 4.2% in both July 2018 and July 2019.
Nonfarm payroll employment declined in July by 0.2% in Fort Smith and in Little Rock, but was higher in the state’s other metro areas. Employment growth in Hot Springs was particularly robust, up 0.8% in a single month. Compared to July 2018, employment has shown solid growth in Fayetteville, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Memphis and Texarkana. Fort Smith is essentially unchanged from the previous year, while Pine Bluff continues to suffer employment declines. Total employment in Pine Bluff is now over 13% lower than before the recession of 2008-09.