Arkansas Economy

Cotton farmers in Arkansas are expected this year to plant the fewest acres ever in Arkansas' cotton growing history.

The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension estimates that cotton acreage could fall below 200,000 for the first time.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated in March that the cotton acreage would drop by more than 30 percent from last year. The previous low in the state was in 2013 with 310,000 acres.

Division economists say 90 percent of the drop in planting is due to falling U.S. per pound cotton prices.

A recent trip by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and economic development officials sent a clear statement to aerospace and steel companies about the state of Arkansas, a Northeast Arkansas economic development official said Monday.

Clif Chitwood, an official with the Great River Economic Development group in Mississippi County, attended the Paris Air Show with Hutchinson and other business leaders from around the state.

The air show brought aerospace companies together with suppliers in the civilian aviation industry.

The trip to Paris also brought good news Monday afternoon.

Following a meeting last week with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the Paris Air Show, Aerojet Rocketdyne, a world leader in the development and manufacturing of aerospace and defense products, on Monday announced plans to expand its facility in Calhoun County.

As part of the expansion, the company will add 85 new full-time employees and invest $18 million in new buildings, upgrades, and new equipment, officials said. The addition of 85 new positions will bring total employment at the Aerojet Rocketdyne facility in Calhoun County to more than 630 people.

Arkansas’ May unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.7% from April, but the measuring stick for job health was down 0.8% from one year ago.

Employment numbers rose by 900 for the month and unemployment ranks added 600 to the jobless rolls between April and May in Arkansas.

During the past 12 months, 46,100 Arkansans have been added to the workforce, while 3,000 have exited. Economists speculate that those departing the workforce are a combination of those giving up looking for work, those moving out of state, and retirements led by Baby Boomers.

Gov. Hutchinson Visits Germany, Promotes Arkansas At Steel Show

Jun 17, 2015
Arkansas Economic Development Commission

As part of his trade mission to Europe, Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday visited Düsseldorf, Germany where he attended the METEC Trade Fair.

During his time in Düsseldorf, the governor met with several prospective companies with an interest in expansion in North America, officials with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said in a news release.

METEC, held once every four years, is an exhibition event for steel technology and focuses on castings, foundry technology, metallurgy and thermo process technology.

A northwest Arkansas county topped all other counties in the nation in average wage growth over a one year period ending in the fourth quarter of 2014. Benton County’s 9.9 percent increase bested the country’s 339 largest counties in a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Wednesday. The national average was 3.5 percent average wage growth.

Only a half dozen years after the Great Recession, the auto industry is experiencing a strong resurgence in payrolls with more than 7.25 million private sector jobs in the U.S. economy, according to industry analysis compiled by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR).

Gov. Radio Address: Promoting Arkansas In Europe

Jun 13, 2015
Office of the Governor

  The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's Radio Address and Column for the weekend of June 12, 2015:

A few weeks ago, I was in Silicon Valley in California. Last week, I was in Newport and Batesville. Saturday, I leave for Paris and Germany.

The locations change but the business remains the same — economic development for Arkansas.


In 2015, we have to be a national and global competitor. And to compete on a national and global level, we have to market Arkansas at every opportunity. That means being there.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson will leave Saturday for a weeklong economic development trip to France and Germany as part of a business recruiting effort.

Hutchinson said Thursday that he'll meet with aerospace companies at the Paris Air Show, which is the world's largest aviation and aerospace trade show. He then goes to Germany for an international metallurgical trade show.

The $129,000 trip includes meetings with at least 17 different prospective companies, but Hutchinson said he doesn't anticipate any new business announcements when he returns on June 19.

Arkansas Sees Tepid 0.8% GDP Growth In 2014, Farming Income Drops 19.9%

Jun 11, 2015

Arkansas’ real gross domestic product (GDP) output lost momentum in 2014 as the Natural State’s economic growth fell well below the rest of the nation and surrounding states, according to information released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).