The revisions to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics data for metro areas is finally complete and was released with yesterday’s metropolitan area employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The revised time series for metro unemployment rates (seasonally adjusted) is shown in the figure below. Revisions to the unemployment rates were minor and left the trends intact. Rates have changed little over the past year, with Jonesboro and Memphis edging slightly lower and Pine Bluff and Texarkana experiencing modest increases.
The revisions to the household employment levels are of interest, if for no other reason than they reinforce the revisions to payroll employment that were released in March. Total employment was revised upward in Fort Smith, Hot Springs, and Pine Bluff. Other metro areas saw modest downward revisions. Overall the data for a indicate rising employment trends for the first months of 2019, with the exception of Pine Bluff where household employment is showing little change.
Changes in nonfarm payroll employment were mixed across the state’s metro areas. From February to March, statewide employment was essentially unchanged. Meanwhile, three metros experienced employment increases of 0.3% and three saw declines of 0.3%. Hot Springs and Little Rock were essentially unchanged. Compared to a year ago, employment is higher in six metro areas, unchanged in Pine Bluff and down slightly in Fort Smith.
With the data smoothed by using quarterly averages, the figure below provides a summary of the employment growth trends among Arkansas’ metro areas. Since the beginning of 2014, employment has been increasing in nearly all of the metropolitan regions of the state. The exception is Pine Bluff, where payroll employment continues to stagnate or decline slightly.