There's more scrutiny now of Arkansas's economic incentives programs. Hewlett-Packard, which received $10 million from the Governor's Quick Action Closing Fund in 2008, announced earlier this year that it would be laying off employees at its Conway center.
Efforts to stimulate economic investment in rural communities across Arkansas are outlined in a new report by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
Dr. Wayne Miller, an extension economist, says the Rural Profile of Arkansas 2013 report shows how many manufacturing jobs in small towns have been shipped overseas to South America and Asia in recent years.
There has been a slight increase in the state’s unemployment rate, according to officials with the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services. The jobless rate for July was up one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.4 percent.
Bernadette Coleman is the Bureau of Labor Statistics manager with the department. She says the small hike is partially due to seasonal factors.
"The summer has something to do with it. One thing I particularly think about is the school situation, because schools are still out in July… so the summertime does make a difference,” said Coleman.
Remington Arms Company is breaking ground on a $32 million expansion of its ammunition plant in Arkansas.
Gov. Mike Beebe, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor and other officials were expected to be on hand Thursday for the expansion of the ammunition plant in Lonoke. Remington announced in May it would expand the facility, which was established in 1969.
The Delta Region has been awarded $6.2 million to fund projects to promote healthy living in the workplace.
The Delta Regional Authority and Health Resources Services Administration awarded the funds through their Delta States Rural Development Grant Program to multiple counties in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Authority Co-Chairman Christopher Masingill says a healthy workforce is vital to the strength of the Delta Region.
Poultry experts hope China will quickly lift restrictions put in place after nine Arkansas chickens were exposed to a strain of avian flu.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture told Arkansas' congressional delegation that China had stopped importing Arkansas chicken parts. Nine birds in Scott County were exposed to a non-pathogenic strain of avian flu during floods in June.
The South is starting to use more solar energy to power businesses and households. Texas led a 2012 spike in purchases of solar energy by ordering over 12 percent of the country's solar wattage, something until recently, almost exclusively done by the east and west coasts.