The season of employment data revisions is almost over — but not quite. A new report on metro area employment and unemployment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics includes some revised unemployment statistics for 2013, but the BLS data base will not be updated to reflect the full extent of data revisions until April 18. The table below summarizes the revised unemployment data that were made available this morning.
As we noted when the state unemployment revisions came out, the updated unemployment statistics included both good news and bad news. The bad news was that the state unemployment rate had been higher in 2012 and 2013 than previously-published data had suggested. The good news was that more recent data showed the unemployment rate trending downward. The same is generally true for Arkansas metro areas. Unemployment rates for January 2013 were revised upward by magnitudes ranging from 0.3 to 0.5 percentage points. On the other hand, the new data for January 2014 show substantial declines in unemployment for some Arkansas metro areas. Seven of the eight metro areas covering parts of Arkansas showed declines from a year earlier, with unemployment in Pine Bluff unchanged. Unemployment rates in Memphis and Fort Smith, in particular, have fallen dramatically since January 2013.
In a post earlier this week, we reported on the revisions to payroll employment data for Arkansas metro areas for 2012 and 2013. The table below shows the most recent updates to the monthly data–January 2014.
Employment increased in January in most of the state’s metro areas, with notable exceptions of Pine Bluff and Texarkana. In both of those southern-tier metro areas, employment was down not only for the month, but down over the past year as well. Pine Bluff and Texarkana are also the only metro areas in the state that have continued to shed jobs since the statewide employment trough of February 2010. At the other extreme, Jonesboro and Fayetteville have both seen employment growth of nearly 10 percent since February 2010. These two northern-most metro areas are also distinguished by the fact that they now have higher employment than at the onset of the recession.