Arkansas Economy

Central High School
nps.gov

Officials with the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site say they are trying to not lay off workers due to sequestration cuts.

As the consequences of automatic federal spending cuts begin to seep into daily life, Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas says his office is already fielding calls from concerned citizens. Pryor says the sequester will have long-term implications.

Arkansas Increase In Minimum Wage Fails In Committee

Mar 5, 2013
Arkansas Capitol building.
Ron Breeding / KUAR News

An effort to raise Arkansas' minimum wage failed to make it out of a House committee Tuesday. The measure by Democratic Rep. Butch Wilkins of Bono would have increased the state's minimum wage by two dollars to $8.25 for all employees, except part-time student workers at universities.

“I don’t think the facts will show that the minimum wage increase is really harmful to the economy,” said Wilkins.

U.S. Senators John Boozman and Mark Pryor of Arkansas have joined a bipartisan coalition of senators who want quick approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The pipeline would move oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Boozman says the group is urging Secretary of State John Kerry to approve the project within the first quarter of this year.

Sequester Not Immediately Felt In Arkansas and Nation

Feb 26, 2013

Analysts say Arkansas would lose millions of dollars in funding for crucial education, military readiness, and job training programs, if Congress and the president don’t reach a deal to avoid the sequester.

Though the automatic spending cuts go into effect March 1, the government won’t run out of money until March 27 and that’s only if a new funding measure is not passed. Additionally, the full impact of sequestration won’t be felt by Arkansans until April 4 when furloughs begin.

Candis Collins
Malcolm Glover

The inability of Congress to reach an agreement on ending the sequester means some programs in Arkansas could suffer if mandatory spending cuts in defense and domestic programs go into effect March 1.

At an event in Little Rock Wednesday, various interest groups rallied together and encouraged lawmakers to act before it’s too late.

Chilly temperatures and freezing rain weren’t going to stop Candis Collins from voicing her concerns about looming federal cuts. She and others gathered outside Martin Luther King Magnet Elementary School in Little Rock.

Arkansas Business has a report on the latest on Big River Steel Mill project.

U.S. Marshals
Flickr.com

Organizers of a planned U.S. Marshals Museum in western Arkansas are getting a big boost with a big donation.

The project in Fort Smith will cost $50 million, which covers the building, exhibits, endowments, and the first year’s operation cost.

Jessica Hayes, the museum Vice President, says its goal is to honor the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency in the country.

Aircraft cabinets
customaircraftcabinets.com

A Sherwood-based company that makes furnishings for airplanes on Wednesday opened a new facility.

It is also expanding its workforce, creating 150 additional jobs.

KUAR’s Kezia Nanda was at the grand opening. You can listen to her report above.

A large crowd was on hand as Custom Aircraft Cabinets opened the new facility on Landers Road, the building which had previously housed a National Home Center.

Mike Gueringer co-founded the company, which makes cabinetry and upholstery for aircraft, 24 years ago in North Little Rock.

Michael Hibblen

A major new employer will be coming to east Arkansas IF the legislature approves start-up funding for the project.

Governor Mike Beebe announced Tuesday that a much talked about super-project involves a steel mill in Osceola.

"It is a $1.1 billion investment.  It is 525 direct, immediate jobs with an average salary of $75,000 a piece," Gov. Beebe said to applause in a packed conference room at the Capitol.

About 2,000 temporary construction jobs would also be created as the mill is being built.

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