Arkansas Economy

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority on Wednesday (Jan. 13) moved two steps closer to jump-starting the first phase of the downtown development the city hopes to market to attract startups, entrepreneurs and establish a tech focus to the city’s Creative Corridor.

Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs.
wikipedia.org

Bank of the Ozarks is laying the foundation for future growth with plans for a new corporate headquarters in west Little Rock.

The Little Rock-based financial institution says it has outgrown three headquarters locations in the past 20 years.

Governor Asa Hutchinson rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday. The governor says it is part of an economic development trip to boost Arkansas’s profile and lure investment.

Hutchinson’s stop on Wall Street was followed by appearances on CNBC and Fox Business touting his push for computer coding education among other things. The governor’s office said a slew of other media appearances are also planned

A Maine-based company is announcing plans to expand its manufacturing plant in northeast Arkansas.

Falmouth, Maine-based Southworth Products Corporation CEO Brian McNamara said Wednesday that the company will invest $935,000 in the plant in Manila and add 35 jobs.

The company plans to add two new assembly lines at the plant and to better separate its shipping and production operations.

A leading economic indicator for the nine-state middle America region stretching from Arkansas to North Dakota shows that business growth has slumped for the fifth straight month heading into the new year, according to the Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index for December.

  State finance officials say higher than expected corporate and individual income tax collections last month kept Arkansas revenue above forecast, but below the previous year's figures.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration reported Tuesday that net available revenue in December totaled $464.1 million. That's $7.7 million above forecast - but $18.7 million less than December 2014.

The state's net available revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 is $2.5 billion, $17.8 million below the same point last fiscal year but $66.9 million above forecast.

Metroplan

According to the 2015 Economic Review and Outlook report released by Metroplan, central Arkansas is showing signs of economic growth.

“During most of the year we were growing jobs at a faster rate than the northwest Arkansas region,” said Metroplan researcher Jonathan Lupton. “And normally they outperform us. This is the first year since 1998 that we’ve actually had faster job growth in central Arkansas than they’ve had in northwest Arkansas.”

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

About 600,000 Arkansas taxpayers are receiving an income tax cut with the start of the new year, a move that the state's Republican governor says will boost the economy but critics say threatens other state services.

The 1 percent income tax cut for those making between $21,000 and $75,000 approved by the majority-Republican Legislature last February took effect Friday.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who campaigned on the tax cut proposal, has cast it as a way to help the state's middle class and make Arkansas more competitive.

A year-ending survey of business contacts indicated that nearly half expect economic conditions in 2016 will be somewhat better than in 2015 as employment growth continue to strengthen across the state, according to the Federal Reserve’s “Burgundy Book.”

The report provides statistical and anecdotal notes on 62 of the state’s 75 counties. The Little Rock Zone covers six state metro areas, including Little Rock/North Little Rock/Conway, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, Texarkana, Fort Smith and Fayetteville/Springdale/Rogers.

Governor Radio
Office of the Governor

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio column for the weekend of Dec. 18, 2015:

Over the past week, I have attended three major jobs announcements.

In Siloam Springs, Simmons Foods announced a new pet food ingredient facility near their company’s home office. According to Simmons Foods, the facility will create 78 new jobs with an economic impact of $50 million.

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