Arkansas Economy

Sister Simone Campbell in Fayetteville.
KARK

Coinciding with Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. this month a busload of social justice-minded nuns is touring the country, with three stops in Arkansas.

Sister Simone Campbell, of the lobbying group NETWORK, said she supports the Pope’s message of an inclusive economy.

  A groundbreaking ceremony has been held for the expansion of Aerojet Rocketdyne's plant in Camden in south Arkansas.

The California-based company was joined by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and state and local officials for Thursday's ceremony.

The project includes new buildings and renovations on the 1,200-acre site and 85 new jobs. The cost of the project was not released, however it is supported with incentives that include funding, tax exemptions, real estate tax grants and reimbursement for training.

The plant produces solid rocket motors used in the defense industry.

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority on Wednesday unanimously approved a measure giving Executive Director Brent Birch the power to negotiate a deal to hire East Harding Inc. as the construction manager for the first phase of the $30 million downtown tech park development.

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle JLTV
Lance Turner / Arkansas Business

Lockheed Martin says it's protesting the contract for a military vehicle it had hoped to assemble in south Arkansas being awarded to another company.

The Maryland-based company on Tuesday said it had filed a protest of the Army's decision last month to award a $6.7 billion contract to develop the joint light tactical vehicle to Wisconsin-based Oshkosh. Lockheed Martin was among three companies competing for the project, which it intended to build at its Camden facility in southern Arkansas.

Big River Steel
Johnathan Reaves / KASU News

Big River Steel has pre-sold nearly a quarter of the steel it is expected to produce over the next seven years, the company’s CEO told a legislative committee Wednesday.

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.

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