Yesterday, the September figures for employment and unemployment were released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The not-seasonally-adjusted data for Arkansas metro areas show that unemployment was higher in September of 2011 than in September of 2010 everywhere except Hot Springs. On a month-to-month basis, unemployment rates were down across the state; however, this drop represents part of the typical seasonal effect that is seen in August and September — when the students are back to school and teachers are back to work. After seasonal adjustment, the change in unemployment rates from August to September was postive in each of Arkansas MSAs.
As shown in the chart below, there is a clear trend emerging for 2011. After some improvement in 2010, unemployment rates have been rising for several months now. Higher rates of unemployment are emerging in nearly every area of the state, and the magnitudes of increase rates have been substantial: Since February, unemployment rates are up more than a percentage point in Fayetteville, Little Rock and Pine Bluff.