Total Non-Farm Employment
Comparing Arkansas’ total non-farm employment to the U.S. indicates the State is performing better relative to the U.S. The chart below graphs the natural logs of the monthly values for each series normalized to January 2015. Normalization to this date reflects the relative performance beginning when Governor Hutchinson took office.
Note that the slope of the Arkansas line exceeds that for the U.S. beginning April 2015 until April 2016. The Arkansas slope dips a bit until June 2016 after which the growth rate of Arkansas exceeds the U.S. until April 2017. Note the slopes of AR is slightly above the US curve.
Arkansas non-farm employment growth rate dipped a bit in mid 2017, remained flat until April 2018 and is now growing slightly better that the U.S.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics updates the State’s employment mid-month following the end of the previous month.
Updated 28 January 2020. The last data point is December 2019.
SOURCE: FRED, US – PAYEMS, ARKANSAS – ARNA and the author’s calculations
The graph reveals that lottery revenues peaked in May 2011 (not shown) followed by a long decline reaching a minimum in December 2014. A major revamp of the lottery yielded a strong upward thrust which peaked in August 2016 followed by a gradual decline. The data suggests when new games are added lottery revenues increase. Lottery revenues vary seasonally by month of the year.
Using monthly total monthly sales thru April 2020, the forecast for total 12 month sales thru June 2020 = $505,553,000. The Departments official lottery revenue forecast ending June 2020 is $497,000,000. The updated forecasts show an increase thru thru June 2020 but is slightly above the official forecast.
The graph shows the lottery revenues experienced steady growth from January 2017 thru September 2019. The April revenues showed a significant increase resulting in the revised June 2020 higher than previous forecasts.
Forecasts updated on 15 May 2020 using the data ending in April 2020.
SOURCE: Lottery Commission, monthly disclosure reports, all counties total sales. The Commission updates its revenue collections approximately eight – ten days after the end of the month.
The graph shows the actual net revenues for the ending 12 months from January 2017 thru April 2020. The forecast for the net available revenues for the 12 months ending 30 June 2020 = $5,981,460. As an additional month of actual net revenues is reported, a new 12 month total is calculated. The new 12 month total is used, along with all the previous actual month’s totals, to calculate an updated forecast for the 12 months ending June 2020. In essence, the forecast for the 12 months ending June 2020 is revised monthly as actual monthly net revenues are reported.
The forecast for the 12 months ending June 2020 = $5,981,460. This is an updated forecast from the previous month’s $6,084,130. The State’s official forecast issued 2 April 2020 for the 12 months ending June 2020 = $5,687,300.
The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration revised its forecast to reflect the impact of the virus.
An upward trend in net revenues existed until April 2016 (not shown). Beginning in April 2016, net revenues exhibited little changes as noted in the flat portion of the graph above. The flat points in the above graph ended in November 2017. The upward trend resumes here.
(NEW) The 12 month net revenues declined in March and April of 2020. The Autobox forecasting methodology identified an intervention in March and April having a negative impact on net revenues. The statistical methodology permits the forecasts to be calculated as if the interventions were to continue in the future. The forecasts shown both above and below are calculated with the interventions continuing in the future.
SUMMARY OF MONTHLY NET REVENUE FORECASTS
The following graph shows the June 2020 forecasts for net revenues by month and the upper and lower 95% confidence intervals around each forecast.
Note that the upper and lower limits are wider surrounding the June 2019 forecast made in July 2018 compared to the much narrower limits surrounding the June 2019 forecast made in May 2019. The wider vs. narrow limits reflect that the equation for the confidence intervals for the forecasts 12 months ahead made in July 2018 includes the number 12 while the formula for one period ahead made in May 2019 includes the number one. Hence, the farther ahead the forecast the greater uncertainty as evidenced by the wider confidence limits.
The graph above shows the monthly forecasts hovering around $5,650,000 until February 2019 when it began to increase.
The State’s fiscal year ends in June. The updated monthly forecasts for the fiscal year ending June 2020 is shown below.
The forecast for the 12 months net revenue collections ending June 2020 is $5,752,450. The monthly updates for the forecast net revenue collections using data ending the previous month are:
Monthly revisions for the forecast for 12 months ending June 2020:
Updated 13 May 2020 using net revenue collected thru April 2020.
Source: Arkansas Dept. of Revenue and Finance
The graph shows the New Private Housing Units Authorized by Building Permits: 1 – Unit Structures for Arkansas, not seasonally adjusted. The series exhibits significant variation and is highly seasonal with November and December permits significantly lower that the other ten months.
The updated forecasts thru September 2020 are shown below.
Note that the autumn seasonal downswing has ended and the seasonal upswing is underway. Note further that the peak of the seasonal upswing is lower than the upswings beginning in December of 2016 and 2017. The lower peak in the 2019 seasonal upswing is cause for some, but not significant, concern.
The U.S. Bureau of Census updates this data series approximately 45 days after the end of the month.
Updated 13 May 2020 with last data point March 2020.
Source: FRED: Series = ARBP1FH, NSA
US and ARKANSAS LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia produces leading indexes for each of the 50 states. The indexes are calculated monthly and are usually released a week after the release of the coincident indexes. The Bank issues a release each month describing the current and future economic situation of the 50 states.
The leading index for each state predicts the six-month growth rate of the state’s coincident index. In addition to the coincident index, the models include other variables that lead the economy: state-level housing permits (1 to 4 units), state initial unemployment insurance claims, delivery times from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing survey, and the interest rate spread between the 10-year Treasury bond and the 3-month Treasury bill.
A time-series model (vector autoregression) is used to construct the leading index. Current and prior values of the forecast variables are used to determine the future values of the index.
The following chart graphs the index for AR and the U.S. Note that most of the time the AR index is lower that the U.S. Furthermore, the AR index exhibits a downward slope since it peaked in September 2015. A slight uptick in the AR index is evident beginning in early 2019 but has recently declined.
Note the divergence in the two indicators.
The chart below shows the monthly indices for the U.S. and Arkansas in natural logs normalized to January 2015. The data are normalized to this date to reflect Governor Hutchinson taking office.
The important conclusion is the normalized leading indicators suggest a significant divergence between the two, and both are forecast to decline.
Forecasts updated 13 May 2020 reflecting data ending February 2020.
Source: FRED: Arkansas data = ARSLIND, US data = USSLIND and author’s calculations.
Arkansas Total Non-Farm Employment
Arkansas total non-farm employment is closely aligned with U.S. payroll employment. In an analysis (not shown) 99.9% of the variation in Arkansas employment is explained by the variation in U.S. payroll employment and the historical values of Arkansas’ non-farm employment. Conclusion: As U.S. payroll employment moves up and down, so goes Arkansas’ employment.
Forecasts of Arkansas’ expected total payroll employment can be shown as the 12 month % change. The graphic pattern shows a steady 12 month percentage change from January 2016 thru December 2018. Since then, the 12 month percentage change has trended down until April 2020.
The large decline in April equals 99.21. Assuming this large decline continues the forecast is only a minor increase. Expect the May 2020 Arkansas non-farm employment to show an additional decline.
Forecasts updated on 24 May 2020 using data thru April 2020.
SOURCE: FRED, series = ARNA, seasonally adjusted