Unemployment rates in Arkansas metro areas were basically unchanged from May to June (seasonally adjusted), but were higher than a year ago in four of the eight metro areas. First, the not-seasonally adjusted figures shown in the table below reveal that unemployment rates have increased over the past 12 months in Fort Smith, Memphis, Pine Bluff, and Texarkana. Rates were unchanged in Hot Springs and Jonesboro, and have fallen slightly in Fayetteville and Little Rock.
The news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that 272 of the nation’s 372 metro areas had lower unemployment rates than a year earlier. The four metro areas in Arkansas that had higher rates than a year earlier were among the 73 areas nationwide that have experienced increases. Hot Springs and Jonesboro were among the 27 metro areas across the country where unemployment rates were the same as in June 2012.
To evaluate monthly changes, the second table shows smoothed seasonally adjusted estimates of metro area unemployment rates. From May to June, rates were unchanged in all metro areas except Pine Bluff, which showed an uptick of 0.1 percentage points.
The payroll employment survey for June showed modest declines in Hot Springs and Pine Bluff, no change in Texarkana, and increases in the rest of the state’s metro areas. The largest percentage increase for the month was in Fort Smith, up 0.8%. Compared to June 2013, payroll employment has declined in Hot Springs, Pine Bluff and Texarkana, but is up in the remaining MSAs. The monthly increase in Little Rock was large enough to push employment above its level in December 2007 — prior to the onset of the 2008-09 — for the first time since the recovery began.