Arkansas Economy

Arkansas finance officials say the state's revenue in February beat expectations, and the governor says the numbers reduce the likelihood of the budget cuts that he had told agencies were possible.

The state Department of Finance and Administration on Thursday said net available revenue last month totaled $276.7 million. That's $3.2 million below February 2016, but $40.9 million above forecast.

The state's net revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 totals $3.4 billion, which is $19 million above the same point last year and $15 million below forecast.

The folks based out of Springdale have been selling the meats. Talk Business & Politics reports Tyson Foods on Monday announced record fiscal first quarter net income of $594 million, up almost 29% compared to the same period in the previous fiscal quarter thanks to big gains in the beef and pork segments.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he's asking several agencies to make contingency plans for potential budget cuts after finance officials announced the state's net revenue had fallen $57 million below forecast.

The Republican governor told reporters Thursday he's asking for the plans as he watches the state's revenue over the next couple months and will decide by March whether to make any adjustments. Hutchinson said the agencies he's asking for plans from include the departments of Human Services, Education and Correction.

Arkansas state revenue fell short of projections for the month of January, bringing collections to $57.1 million below forecast for the first seven months of the fiscal year.

The Department of Finance and Administration says state net revenue came in 8.1 percent below forecast last month. January individual income tax collections came in about $26.8 million below forecast, with sales and corporate income taxes also falling slightly below projections.

Arkansas' unemployment rate has dipped back below 4 percent in the final month of 2016.

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services said Friday that the state's unemployment rate in December was 3.9 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from November's numbers. The state's jobless rate has hovered around 4 percent for the past six months after starting 2016 at 4.4 percent.

The national unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in December.

Executives from Massachusetts-based Clean Harbors Inc. gathered with South Arkansas government and business officials on Tuesday (Dec. 6) to christen what company officials are calling the nation’s most technologically advance incinerator of its kind to be built this century.

Arkansas’s net revenue came in slightly above forecast for the month of November, and exceeded net figures from the same period last year. But gross collections for the month were down.

The state Department of Finance and Administration said Friday that five months into fiscal year 2017, net revenue has totaled $2.15 billion, which is 1.7 percent above year ago levels but 0.5 percent below the agency’s forecast. The agency reported that gross revenues for the fiscal year came to about $2.5 billion, 0.9 percent above year ago levels but 0.8 percent below forecast. 

All of Arkansas’s metropolitan areas saw unemployment rate declines in October, compared to both the same period last year and to the previous month. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released data Wednesday showing the state’s unemployment rate was a non-seasonally adjusted 3.4 percent, down from 3.9 percent in the previous month and down from 4.3 percent during the same period last year.

Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority says nearly $26 million will be invested in Arkansas for projects aimed at driving economic growth and improving infrastructure.      

The authority announced the funding Monday alongside Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The $26 million includes money awarded by the Delta Regional Authority and public and private funding sources. 

Ken Simonson Associated General Contractors of America
Jacob Kuaffman / KUAR News

Officials with the Associated General Contractors of America visited central Arkansas Tuesday to push for a federal civil works program under President-elect Donald Trump that would invest over a trillion dollars in the nation’s aging infrastructure and bring more construction jobs to the Arkansas economy.