Arkansas Economy

State officials say Arkansas' unemployment rate remained unchanged in October, coming in at 4 percent. 

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services says the state saw some minor fluctuations in the number of unemployed people last month, but not enough to cause the rate to change from September's number. The October rate of 4 percent is almost a full percentage point lower than the rate of 4.9 percent in October 2015. 

Arkansas finance officials say a boost in corporate and individual income tax collections helped the state's revenue rebound in October after three months of losses this fiscal year.

The Department of Finance and Administration said Wednesday the state's net available revenue in October totaled $439.1 million, which was $33.2 million above the same month last year and $8.9 million above forecast. The state's revenue so for the fiscal year that began July 1 totaled $1.7 billion, which is $23.2 million below forecast.

On the podcast this week:

-Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off in the final presidential debate this year. Trump says he won’t commit to accepting election results if he loses. What’s the Arkansas response?

-The state unemployment rate ticks up in September. Meanwhile Gov. Hutchinson tours China to talk trade and bring home some jobs.

-Arguments for and against Medical Marijuana ratchet up. We’ll talk TV ads, law enforcement and tax revenue ahead of the November 8th election.

Early voting begins Monday, October 24th. 

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Arkansas’s unemployment rate is up, though not by very much. The state also still rests below the national average in the September report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

After three months of flat unemployment numbers Arkansas’s rate ticked up from 3.9 percent in August to 4 percent in September. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson Skype
Governor's Office

After seeing thousands of nondurable apparel manufacturing jobs leave eastern Arkansas since the early 1990s, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and his economic development team are bringing 400 of those jobs back to the state.

Students
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

Marvell-Elaine schools bus driver Larry Greer’s route twists through the Arkansas Delta, between the White and Mississippi Rivers. “All together I go from Elaine to Snow Lake, 65 miles round trip,” he said, while elementary school kids filed onto his bus for the afternoon ride home.

These are country bus stops along country roads. The way is long. In the morning, Greer says, he will wait only so long at an empty stop before he snaps his levered doors closed again. “If they don’t come out, they’re not going that day.”

Arkansas finance officials say the state's revenue in September again fell below expectations and the same month last year.

The Department of Finance and Administration on Tuesday said the state's net available revenue last month totaled $515.5 million, which is $500,000 below the same month a year ago and $16.7 million below the forecast. The state's net available revenue so far for the fiscal year that began July 1 totaled $1.3 billion, which is $4.3 million below the same point last year and $32 million below forecast.

Two manufacturers in Little Rock have announced plans for a $6.4 million expansion that will create 43 new jobs.

G.C. Evans Sales and Manufacturing and Sleeve Seal announced the expansion Monday. The two companies are now based in a facility on south Woodrow Street but will move all operations to a site in south Little Rock as part of the expansion.

G.C. Evans makes packaging and processing equipment for the food, bottling and pharmaceutical industries, while Sleeve Seal supplies high-speed labeling equipment and shrink labels for the packaging industry.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

Funding cuts for mental health services through Medicaid are taking effect October 1, despite a last-ditch effort at the state legislature Friday to walk back a change that some say could have dire consequences.

The cuts, finalized last week, would limit group therapy length from an hour and a half to an hour and set a cap of 25 counseling visits per year for Medicaid recipients who might otherwise go every week.

The vote to revisit the decision failed to gain two thirds from the Arkansas Legislative Council Friday morning.

Downtown Magnolia, Arkansas.
flickr.com

A fuel-cell manufacturer has notified local officials that it will shut its plant in Magnolia, putting about 300 people out of work in south Arkansas.

Magnolia Mayor Parnell Vann says he was notified last week that American Fuel Cells and Coated Fabrics Co., also known as Amfuel, will shut down production at its plant. The manufacturer has been located in Magnolia for more than 60 years.

A spokesman for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission says the agency was notified of the plant's closure and said the company received no state incentives.

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