The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that unemployment rates were lower in June than a year earlier in 336 of the 388 metropolitan areas in the U.S. All of Arkansas metro areas, except Texarkana, fell into that category. With an unemployment rate that is up 0.3 percentage points since June 2016, Texarkana was one of 45 metro areas with a higher unemployment rate than a year ago.
From May to June, seasonally adjusted estimates indicated that unemployment rates were unchanged or up slightly in most of Arkansas metro areas. Texarkana was the outlier in this comparison as well, with an unemployment rate decline of 0.1 percentage points.
From May to June, nonfarm payroll employment increased in Little Rock, Memphis and Fort Smith. Payroll employment was down in Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, Texarkana and Fayetteville. Compared to a year earlier, Fayetteville remains the fastest-growing metro area, up 3.8%. Jonesboro, Memphis and Hot Springs had employment totals that were also significantly higher than a year earlier.
The figure below illustrates the wide range of employment growth patterns over the past decade. Only four of Arkansas metro areas have higher employment totals than at the start of the 2008-09 recession and only Fayetteville and Jonesboro have experienced significant growth. Since the employment trough of 2010, most of Arkansas metro areas have experienced at least some positive growth, with the exception of Texarkana and Fort Smith (both essentially unchanged) and Pine Bluff (down nearly 11%).