Unemployment rates increased in all of Arkansas’ metropolitan areas in September. Seasonally adjusted estimates showed increases of 0.2 percentage points in six of Arkansas’ metro areas, with the rate increasing by 0.3 in Pine Bluff and only 0.1 in Texarkana. The statewide unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage points for the month.
Unemployment rates remain consistently lower than a year ago, but have given up some of the gains achieved during the summer and are presently at levels comparable to the early months of 2016.
Changes in Nonfarm Payroll Employment in September were mixed. Hot Springs and Jonesboro both showed solid employment gains for the month. However, employment was down in Fayetteville, Little Rock, Memphis and Pine Bluff. Employment was essentially unchanged in Fort Smith and Texarkana.
Over the past 12 months, employment has increased across most of the state, but has declined in Pine Bluff and Texarkana. Employment has been slow to recover from the 2008-09 recession in many parts of Arkansas. Only Fayetteville and Jonesboro have shown significant employment increases since December 2007, with the Little Rock metro area up slightly compared to pre-recession levels. Employment in Pine Bluff is down by 13% from 2007, having fallen 10.5% since employment in other parts of the state reached post-recession lows.