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Northwest Arkansas jobless rate up in October

An uptick in the number of unemployed in Northwest Arkansas and a dip in the number of employed pushed the region’s October jobless rate up to 5% compared to 4.9% in September. The October 2011 jobless rate in the region was 5.7%.

Seven of the eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas had jobless rate increases in October compared to September, and all eight areas had jobless rate declines compared to October 2011. The Texarkana (Ark.-Texas) metro area had an October jobless rate of 5.9%, down from 6.1% in September.

During October, the lowest metro jobless rate was in Northwest Arkansas and the highest rate was 8.6% in the Memphis/West Memphis metro.

According to figures released Wednesday (Nov. 28) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the size of the Northwest Arkansas regional workforce during October was 238,836, down from the 239,449 during September, but well ahead of the 233,611during October 2011.

Northwest Arkansas continues to trend upward in that category. The average annual monthly labor size was 231,461 during 2011, 227,938 during 2010 and 225,177 during 2009.

The number of employed during October fell to 226,958 from 227,734 in September. The October employment was more than 6,000 jobs higher than the 220,348 in October 2011.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS METRO NUMBERS
Unemployed persons in the region totaled 11,878 during October, above the 11,715 during September and well below the 13,263 during October 2011.

The Northwest Arkansas manufacturing sector employed an estimated 27,900 in October, down compared to 28,000 in September, but ahead of the 27,400 during October 2011. Sector employment is down more than 18% from more than a decade ago when January 2002 manufacturing employment in the metro area stood at 34,300.

Jobs in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — the region’s largest job sector —  totaled 47,600 in October, down from 46,700 during September, and up from the 45,500 during October 2011. Employment in the sector is off from the high of 50,500 posted in December 2006.

Employment in the region’s tourism industry was 20,500 during October, down from 20,600 in September and up from 19,000 during October 2011. Employment in the sector set a new record (20,800) in June.

In Education & Health Services, employment was 24,600 during October, up from 24,000 during September and up from 23,000 during October 2011.

NATIONAL NUMBERS
Unemployment rates were lower in October than a year earlier in 329 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 37 areas, and unchanged in 6 areas, noted the broad BLS report. Also, 35 areas recorded jobless rates of at least 10%, down from 80 in October 2011. Also, 180 areas registered rates of less than 7%, an improvement over the 107 areas in October 2011.

The U.S. unemployment rate in October was 7.9%, down from 8.9% from a year earlier.
Arkansas’ jobless rate was 7.2% in October, up from 7.1% in September and below the 8% rate in October 2011.

Oklahoma’s jobless rate during October was 5.3%, up from 5.2% during September, and below the 6.3% during October 2011. The Missouri jobless rate during October was 6.9%, unchanged from September, and below the 8.3% during October 2011.

ARKANSAS METRO AREAS
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers

Oct. 2012: 5%
Sept. 2012: 4.9%
Oct. 2011: 5.7%

Fort Smith
Oct. 2012: 7.9%
Sept. 2012: 7.6%
Oct. 2011: 8.3%

Hot Springs
Oct. 2012: 7.1%
Sept. 2012: 6.9%
Oct. 2011: 7.5%

Jonesboro
Oct. 2012: 6.5%
Sept. 2012: 6.4%
Oct. 2011: 6.8%

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway
Oct. 2012: 6%
Sept. 2012: 5.9%
Oct. 2011: 6.6%

Memphis-West Memphis
Oct. 2012: 8.6%
Sept. 2012: 8.3%
Oct. 2011: 9.3%

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Pine Bluff
Oct. 2012: 8.5%
Sept. 2012: 8.3%
Oct. 2011: 9.3%

Texarkana
Oct. 2012: 5.9%
Sept. 2012: 6.1%
Oct. 2011: 7.2%

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS METRO AREA HISTORY
Past annual average unemployment rates
2011: 6.2%
2010: 6.5%
2009: 6.1%
2008: 4.1%
2007: 3.8%
2006: 3.6%
2005: 3.3%
2004: 3.8%
2003: 3.7%
2002: 3.3%
2001: 3%
2000: 2.9%

Link here for the Northwest Arkansas info from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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