Arkansas Economy

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle JLTV
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Anticipation is building with an announcement expected soon about where the next generation of military combat vehicle will be built.

Last week, Arkansas Economic Development Commission executive director Mike Preston revealed that the U.S. Department of Defense has told him the award of the highly-coveted Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) will be announced on one of the next three Fridays – Aug. 28, Sept. 4, or Sept. 11.

Boon Tan World Trade Center of Arkansas
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

This year Congress voted to grant the executive branch fast-track authority to negotiate a flurry of international free trade agreements, most notably a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The state says Arkansas' unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point in July to 5.6 percent. That's down from 6 percent a year ago.

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services said Friday that there are 40,300 more Arkansans in the labor force than in July 2014.

military vehicle lockheed martin tom cotton asa hutchinson
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Within the next month, Arkansas economic officials may declare an end of the week announcement as either Good Friday or Black Friday.

Arkansas Economic Development Commission executive director Mike Preston said Thursday that his agency has been told by Pentagon officials that an award of the JLTV superproject will be announced on either Friday, August 28, September 4, or September 11.

John Correnti Big River Steel
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The CEO of the state’s first superproject, Big River Steel CEO John Correnti, was found dead on an out-of-state business trip Tuesday morning, Talk Business & Politics has confirmed.

Correnti, 68, was the driving force for the $1.3 billion steel mill superproject, which is being built near Osceola (Mississippi Co.). As a former CEO of rival Nucor Steel, Correnti was a big fan of Arkansas where he once headed Nucor’s operations in the 1990’s.

Arkansas and U.S. motorists will likely see pump prices continue to move lower for the rest of the year, and may well see local gas prices ratchet down near the two dollar level ahead of the holiday season, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s short-term energy outlook released Tuesday (Aug. 11).

The state has saved $2.5 million in salaries during the last half of the state’s fiscal year from January 13 to June 30 as a result of a hiring freeze instituted by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, his office announced Tuesday.

Hutchinson’s office said the freeze has resulted in the state having 297 fewer state employees. Positions were frozen an average of 59 days, meaning Hutchinson’s office is reviewing all open positions. His office said 433 freeze requests are pending.

Hutchinson said his first act as governor was to institute the hiring freeze.

Arkansas is starting its fiscal year on a positive note, with the state collecting $6.8 million more in revenue than expected.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration said the state's net available revenue in July totaled $399.2 million.

The state's fiscal year began July 1. The state's revenue was $3.9 million less than the same month last year.

This coming weekend will be a chance for Arkansas families to save money on back to school supplies. The annual tax holiday, which was approved by the state legislature in 2011, relieves shoppers of having to pay state and local sales taxes on certain products.

Items needed for students, along with some clothes and accessories within given price ranges are sold tax free.

Metova CEO John Adams
Talk Business & Politics

Officials with Metova, Inc. and the city of Conway announced Thursday that the emerging tech firm is looking to add 100 employees to its workforce in the next few months.

Metova builds apps for major companies like Yelp, Dropbox, eHarmony and Microsoft and it is active in cybersecurity protection for private firms and the federal government.