Economist: Year-over-year Arkansas employment growth slowing
LITTLE ROCK (TALK BUSINESS & POLITICS) —
Despite a steady unemployment number of 3.8 percent, a University of Arkansas economist says there are underlying fundamentals that need to improve to maintain Arkansas’ continued jobs momentum.
Economist Mervin Jebaraj, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas Walton College of Business, said year-over-year job gains have cooled, the labor participation rate is still struggling, and rural employment is moving in the wrong direction.
Arkansas’ March unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, unchanged from February 2018. It hovered at 3.7 percent for the last half of 2017. Meanwhile in the separate Monthly Survey of Employers, overall job sector growth has slowed down.
“Since about 2014 until about December 2017, Arkansas’ employment growth has averaged on a year over year basis above 10,000 jobs every single month calculated annually. Now it’s about 4,900 jobs in a year-over-year basis, that’s about half of that. So since about December 2017, our employment growth has been a whole lot softer in Arkansas and I think that is something that we’re keeping an eye on,” said Jebaraj, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics.
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