Arkansas GDP Growth Rate Below National Average But On Stable, Upward Trend

Jun 15, 2016

Arkansas GDP growth 2007-2015.

Arkansas’s gross domestic product grew a little more slowly than the national average in 2015, according to a report released on Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

The state’s gross domestic product grew 1.5 percent last year while U.S. GDP rose 2.4 percent. In 2014 Arkansas’s GDP growth rate was 2.1 percent.

Chief Economist and State Economic Forecaster at the Institute for Economic Advancement at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Michael Pakko said the report, which includes revisions of ’13 and ’14 GDP numbers, shows the state’s economy has experienced gradual, healthy movement.

“The Arkansas report is consistent with the national trends of steady, consistent but not exceptional growth over the past two or three years, which is better than many countries around the world can say right now,” said Pakko. “Arkansas is really in the range of 1.5-2 percent over the past three or so years.”

Kathy Deck, the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research for the Sam M. Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas, said the state's GDP growth rate falling a few points behind the U.S. average was also reflected in 2015’s unemployment numbers.

“That’s consistent with some other measures of things we saw during that time period, including employment growth. Now, more recent data from an unemployment perspective in 2016 showed that the Arkansas economy is accelerating. But the release today is looking at the end of last year, when Arkansas was just a little bit slower than the rest of the country,” said Deck.

While Arkansas lagged behind the national unemployment rate in 2015, in May of 2016 Arkansas’s 3.9 percent unemployment rate was comfortably outperforming the national rate of 4.7 percent.

At $124.8 billion, Arkansas represents 0.7-percent of U.S. GDP. 41 other states had a GDP increase in the fourth quarter of 2015. Arkansas ranked 27th with 1.6 percent 4th quarter growth. U.S. rates ranged from 3 percent in Indiana to a 3.4 percent decline in Wyoming. Arkansas 2015 GDP rate quarters I-IV: -4.7, 4.8, 4.1, 1.6.

Arkansas’s information and management sectors outperformed other sectors in the fourth quarter of 2015 while transportation, finance, and mining faired the worst.

Quarter IV GDP rate by sector

Educational services: -0.05

Durable-goods manufacturing: -0.07

Administrative and waste management services: -0.09

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting: -0.11

Utilities: -0.15

Government: -0.16

Mining: -0.17

Finance and Insurance: -0.18

Transportation and warehousing: -0.23

Retail trade: 0.03

Arts, entertainment and recreation: 0.03

Accomodation and food services: 0.08

Real estate and rental and leasing: 0.11

Other services, except government: 0.14

Health care and social assistance: 0.21

Professional, scientific, and technical services: 0.23

Construction: 0.28

Wholesale trade: 0.29

Nondurable-goods manufacturing 0.40

Management of companies and enterprises: 0.41

Information: 0.63