Pandemic's Effects on Central Arkansas Jobs Varied


The COVID-19 pandemic hit job sectors in central Arkansas unevenly, Metroplan, the region’s planning area, reports.

This chart compares jobs by industry from March 2019, a year before the pandemic hit, with March 2021. Although most sectors lost jobs, the Little Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area saw more job gains than the U.S. average, according to Metroplan’s latest “Metro Trends: Economic Review and Outlook,” released last month.

In central Arkansas, the leisure/hospitality sector took the worst hit, losing 17.3% of its jobs. In addition, the region “took above-average losses in manufacturing, professional/business services and information, as well as transportation and utilities,” the report says.

The area, meanwhile, grew jobs in the mining/construction sectors. The report notes that construction is being boosted by the Interstate 30 freeway widening project and fabrication of two large new Amazon facilities in Little Rock and North Little Rock.

“The most interesting trend shift may be in the financial activities sector,” the report said. Financial jobs grew about 1.1% nationally during the pandemic, while the Little Rock region saw a 4.1% increase.