Northwest Arkansas employed, labor market size down in June

The Northwest Arkansas jobless rate in June was the lowest metro rate in Arkansas, but  declines continued in the size of the regional labor force and the number of employed.

The June rate of 4.9% was unchanged compared to May but below the 6.1% in June 2013.

Metro employment of 222,357 was slightly below the 222,568 in May, and also below the 223,267 in June 2013, according to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The June numbers are subject to revision.

June marked the 12th consecutive month the NWA metro jobless rate has been below 6%, and the third consecutive month below 5%. The metro area is the only one in Arkansas to post a rate below 5%.

The size of the Northwest Arkansas regional workforce during June was estimated at 233,831, down from the 234,017 in May, but 1.63% below the 237,715 during June 2013. The average annual monthly labor size was 234,412 in 2013, 232,208 during 2012, 228,918 during 2011 and 225,974 during 2010.

Six of the eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas had jobless rate increases in June compared to May, but all had jobless rate declines compared to June 2013. Northwest Arkansas and central Arkansas jobless rates in June were unchanged compared to May. During June, the lowest metro jobless rate in the state was 4.9% in Northwest Arkansas and the highest rate was 8.7% in the Memphis-West Memphis area.

NWA METRO NUMBERS
Following are other key figures from the BLS metro report.

Unemployed persons in the region totaled 11,474 during June, up from the 10,449 during May and more than the 14,448 during June 2013.

The Northwest Arkansas manufacturing sector employed an estimated 26,300 in June, up from 26,200 in May, and down from the 26,500 during June 2013. Sector employment is down more than 21% from more than a decade ago when June 2004 manufacturing employment in the metro area stood at 33,300.

Jobs in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector — the region’s largest job sector —  totaled 47,500 in June, below the 47,700 during May, and down from the 47,700 in June 2013. The sector reached record employment of 50,500 in December 2006.

Employment in the region’s tourism industry was 22,700 during June, which set a new record for the sector. The June data is subject to revision. The level was up from 22,500 in May and up from 22,000 during June 2013.

In Education & Health Services, employment was 24,500 during June, down from 24,900 in May and up from 23,600 during June 2013. The May employment, if it stands, set a new record for the sector.

In the Government sector, employment was 30,800 during June, down from 32,700 in May and up compared to 30,100 during June 2013.

NATIONAL NUMBERS
Unemployment rates were lower in June than a year earlier in 359 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 10 areas, and unchanged in three areas, noted the broad BLS report.

The U.S. unemployment rate in June was 6.1%, down from 7.5% from a year earlier. Arkansas’ jobless rate was 6.2% in June, down from 6.4% in May and down from 7.6% in June 2013.

Oklahoma’s jobless rate during June was 4.5%, down from 4.6% in May, and down compared to 5.5% in June 2013. The Missouri jobless rate during June was 6.5%, down from 6.6% in May and below the 6.8% in June 2013.

ARKANSAS METRO AREAS
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
June 2014: 4.9%
May 2014: 4.9%
June 2013: 6.1%

Fort Smith
June 2014: 6.4%
May 2014: 6.3%
June 2013: 8.2%

Hot Springs
June 2014: 6.5%
May 2014: 6.4%
June 2013: 7.9%

Jonesboro
June 2014: 6%
May 2014: 5.8%
June 2013: 7.5%

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway
June 2014: 5.8%
May 2014: 5.8%
June 2013: 7%

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Memphis-West Memphis
June 2014: 8.7%
May 2014: 7.5%
June 2013: 10%

Pine Bluff
June 2014: 8.6%
May 2014: 8.4%
June 2013: 10.5%

Texarkana
June 2014: 6.3%
May 2014: 6.1%
June 2013: 7.5%

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS METRO AREA HISTORY
Past annual average unemployment rates
2013: 5.7%
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%

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