Fort Smith, AR – December 2023 Jobs Report – Steady Growth Amidst National Fluctuations

, , ,

The Fort Smith metropolitan area (MSA) closed out 2023 with a stable December jobs report, adding 900 jobs and maintaining a steady unemployment rate of 3.6%. This performance defied a slight uptick in the national unemployment rate and offered a positive note to the region’s ongoing economic recovery.


  • Nonfarm payroll employment: Increased by 900 jobs in December, bringing the total to 117,000. This represents a 0.8% increase from November and a 5.3% gain compared to December 2022.
  • Unemployment rate: Held steady at 3.6%, matching the November rate and remaining below the national average of 3.9%.
  • Labor force participation: Remained unchanged at 61.1%, indicating continued engagement in the workforce.

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

What Industries and Occupations Shrank:

  • Manufacturing: Shed 50 jobs, reflecting ongoing national trends in the sector.
  • Mining, logging, and construction: Lost 40 jobs, continuing a slight downward trend observed throughout the year.

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

  • Fort Smith’s December 2023 job growth outpaced the national average (1.1% vs. 0.5%).
  • The unemployment rate remained lower than the national level (3.6% vs. 3.9%) and held steady compared to December 2022.

Compare to Previous Month:

  • December’s job gain was slightly higher than November’s (900 vs. 700), indicating a possible acceleration in momentum.
  • The unemployment rate remained unchanged from November.

Future Outlook:

While national economic forecasts remain cautious, Fort Smith’s December jobs report suggests continued resilience and potential for further growth in 2024. Key factors to watch include ongoing supply chain challenges, inflation trends, and regional business investment.

10 Growing Occupations in Fort Smith (December 2023 vs. December 2022):

  1. Registered nurses
  2. Truck drivers
  3. Retail salespersons
  4. Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers
  5. Software developers
  6. Physician assistants
  7. General and operations managers
  8. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
  9. Electrical and electronics installers and repairers
  10. Industrial machinery mechanics

10 Companies Hiring Now in Fort Smith (as of January 30, 2024):

  1. Walmart
  2. Mercy Fort Smith
  3. ABB
  4. Tyson Foods
  5. Whirlpool
  6. U.S. Bank
  7. Fort Smith Public Schools
  8. Baptist Health-Fort Smith
  9. FedEx
  10. SPX FLOW