Northwest Arkansas’ jobless rate falls to 5.6% during February

The Northwest Arkansas metro jobless rate fell to 5.6% in February, but the size of the regional workforce and number of employed trailed that of February 2013. However, the number of unemployed fell 3.8% in February compared to February 2013.

Metro employment of 220,738 was up from the 216,617 in January, but was down from the 221,344 in February 2013, according to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Seven of the eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas had a jobless rate decline in February compared to January, with only the Memphis-West Memphis area unchanged at 8.4%. Two areas had jobless rate increases (Pine Bluff and Texarkana, Ark.-Texas) compared to February 2013, and the remainder were lower than their respective February 2013 rate. For perspective, 90.8% of the 372 U.S. metro areas had year-over-year-over-year jobless rate declines in February, while 87.5% of Arkansas’ eight metro areas posted year-over-year declines.

During February, the lowest metro jobless rate in the state was in Northwest Arkansas and the highest rate was 10.2% in the Pine Bluff area.

NWA METRO NUMBERS
The size of the Northwest Arkansas regional workforce during February was estimated at 233,767, up from the 230,079 during January, but below the 234,891 during February 2013. June 2013 was the first month the region’s workforce topped 240,000. The average annual monthly labor size was 234,792 during 2012, 229,950 during 2011 and 226,593 during 2010.

Following are other key figures from the BLS metro report.
Unemployed persons in the region totaled 13,029 during February, down from the 13,462 during January and below the 13,547 during February 2013.

The Northwest Arkansas manufacturing sector employed an estimated 26,200 in February, unchanged compared to January, and down from the 26,500 during February 2013. Sector employment is down almost 22% from more than a decade ago when February 2004 manufacturing employment in the metro area stood at 33,700.

Jobs in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — the region’s largest job sector —  totaled 47,800 in February, down from 48,300 during January, and up from the 47,200 during February 2013. The sector reached record employment of 50,500 in December 2006.

Employment in the region’s tourism industry was 20,900 during February, up from 20,600 in January and up from 20,100 during February 2013. Employment in the sector set a record of 22,000 in June 2013.

In Education & Health Services, employment was 24,700 during February, up from 24,500 during January and up from 24,100 during February 2013.

In the Government sector, employment was 32,500 during February, up from 30,900 in January and up compared to 31,600 during February 2013.

NATIONAL NUMBERS
Unemployment rates were lower in January than a year earlier in 338 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 25 areas, and unchanged in nine areas, noted the broad BLS report.

The U.S. unemployment rate in February was 6.7%, down from 7.7% from a year earlier. Arkansas’ jobless rate was 7.1% in February, down from 7.3% in January and down from 7.5% in February 2013.

Oklahoma’s jobless rate during February was 5%, down from 5.2% in January, and down compared to 5.3% in February 2013. The Missouri jobless rate during February was 6.4%, up from 6% in January but better than the 6.7% in February 2013.

ARKANSAS METRO AREAS
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
February 2014: 5.6%
January 2014: 5.9%
February 2013: 5.8%

Fort Smith
February 2014: 7.4%
January 2014: 7.8%
February 2013: 8.4%

Hot Springs
February 2014: 7.7%
January 2014: 8.1%
February 2013: 8.2%

Jonesboro
February 2014: 7.1%
January 2014: 7.8%
February 2013: 7.3%

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway
February 2014: 6.7%
January 2014: 7.1%
February 2013: 7%

Memphis-West Memphis
February 2014: 8.4%
January 2014: 8.4%
February 2013: 9.3%

Advertisement:

Pine Bluff
February 2014: 10.2%
January 2014: 10.8%
February 2013: 10.1%

Texarkana
February 2014: 7.2%
January 2014: 7.4%
February 2013: 6.9%

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS METRO AREA HISTORY
Past annual average unemployment rates
2012: 5.6%
2011: 6.2%
2010: 6.4%
2009: 6.2%
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%

Five Star Votes: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Like This Article? Share It!