by Lee Hogan
Posted 3/17/2014 02:47 pm
Updated 6 months ago
Employment growth in Fayetteville, Fort Smith and Jonesboro was stronger than the national average in the final quarter of 2013, while growth was weaker in Little Rock and Texarkana.
The numbers were released Thursday in the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ "Burgundy Book" report on fourth-quarter 2013 economic conditions.
The unemployment rates in all of Arkansas’ metropolitan statistical areas increased in the fourth quarter of 2013, except in Fort Smith where it remained unchanged from the previous quarter.
The Little Rock Zone, which covers all of the state except the northeast region, had an average unemployment rate of 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. That’s up slightly from the national average of 7.0 percent.
Regionally, Fayetteville enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate at 5.5 percent. Little Rock, 6.7 percent, and Jonesboro, 6.9 percent, were the only other areas below the national unemployment rate. Texarkana, 7.3 percent, and Fort Smith, 7.5 percent, were above the national average.
Texarkana was the only MSA in Arkansas to experience a decrease in non-farm employment in the last quarter of 2013. Numbers dropped 1.2 percent there.
Elsewhere, Little Rock saw a 1.3 percent increase, Fort Smith a 2.6 percent increase, Fayetteville a 4.3 percent increase, and Jonesboro a 4.4 percent increase. Nationally, non-farm employment rose 1.8 percent.
All of Arkansas’ MSAs saw growth in the goods-producing sector except in Little Rock, a 0.2 percent decrease, and Fort Smith, a 0.1 percent decrease.
Compared to a 1.7 percent increase across the country, Texarkana saw a 0.5 percent increase, Fayetteville a 2.5 percent increase and Jonesboro a 4.4 percent increase.
Private Service-Providing Sector
Although not all were above the national mark of 2.2 percent in growth, all of Arkansas’ MSAs saw growth in the private service-providing sector.
Leading the way was Fayetteville with a 5.4 percent increase. Jonesboro saw a 4.8 percent increase, Fort Smith a 4.2 percent increase, Little Rock a 2.1 percent and Texarkana a 1.2 percent.
With the national average down 0.2 percent in the final quarter of 2013, three of the five Arkansas MSAs mentioned still saw an increase in the government sector.
Jonesboro saw the highest increase at 1.5 percent. Next was Fayetteville at 1.3 percent and Fort Smith at 0.3 percent. Little Rock saw a 0.6 percent decrease, and Texarkana saw a significant decrease at 8.6 percent.