Fort Smith area jobless rate rises to 7.9%

The number of unemployed in the Fort Smith region rose above 10,000 during October, which helped push the region’s jobless rate up to 7.9% from 7.6% in September. The October 2011 jobless rate in the region was 8.3%.

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 with 5% 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 Fort Smith regional workforce during October was 128,583, down from the 130,337 during September, and below the 130,359 during October 2011.

October was the 46th consecutive month the metro jobless rate has been at or above 7%.

The regional labor force consistently remained above 130,000 beginning in September 2004, but fell below 130,000 in December. The labor force reached a high of 139,544 in June 2008.

The number of employed during October fell to 118,385 from 120,396 in September. The October employment was also below the 119,602  in October 2011.

FORT SMITH METRO NUMBERS
Unemployed persons in the region totaled an estimated 10,198 during October, above the 9,941 during September and below the 10,757 during October 2011.

The Fort Smith area manufacturing sector employed an estimated 19,200 in October, just below the 19,500 in September, but up over the 18,700 during October 2011. Employment in the sector is down more than 35% from more than a decade ago when January 2001 manufacturing employment in the metro area stood at 30,700.

Jobs in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — the region’s largest job sector —  totaled 23,700 in October, up from 23,600 in September, and above the 23,600 during October 2011. Employment in the sector is off from the high of 25,700 posted in December 2007.

Employment in the region’s tourism industry was 8,500 during October, down from 8,600 in September and above the 8,500 in October 2011. The sector reached an employment high of 9,800 in October 2008.

In Education & Health Services, employment was 15,300 during October, unchanged from September and below the 15,900 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%

Advertisement:

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%

FORT SMITH METRO AREA HISTORY
Past annual average unemployment rates
2011: 8.6%
2010: 8.2%
2009: 7.9%
2008: 4.8%
2007: 5.3%
2006: 4.9%
2005: 4.5%
2004: 5.2%
2003: 5.5%
2002: 5%
2001: 4.2%
2000: 3.7%

Link here for the Fort Smith regional info from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Five Star Votes: 
Average: 1 (1 vote)

Like This Article? Share It!