Arkansas Economy

Arkansas can expect more job growth in the service and construction sectors over the next two years, according to a state economic forecaster. Manufacturing jobs, meanwhile, may not fully recover from the losses experienced in the most recent economic recession.

gay marriage
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

Research out of the UCLA School of Law Tuesday finds ending Arkansas’s ban on same-sex marriage could lead to an economic boost amounting to over $13 million of spending over three years. The study focuses on the direct impact to wedding services by comparing same-sex marriage rates in states where it is legal to the number of same-sex couples in Arkansas.

Big River Steel
Johnathan Reaves / KASU News

Attorneys representing Big River Steel are asking a judge to throw out a federal lawsuit that seeks to stop the construction of a $1.3 billion mill in northeast Arkansas.

In court papers filed Friday, Big River Steel called the lawsuit filed by competitor Nucor Steel "a scorched-earth campaign." Nucor alleges that Big River Steel's new mill in Mississippi County will violate the federal Clean Air Act.

Gloria Smith Canvasses To Get Out The Vote
PBS NewsHour

This story was jointly produced by KUAR's Jacob Kauffman with PBS NewsHour.

This election, voters in several states including Arkansas will go to the polls and vote on proposals to raise the state minimum wage.

The Arkansas rate is $6.25 an hour. The state is one of three with a rate below the federal minimum wage, and that has political groups out canvassing neighborhoods to get support for the increase.

Arkansas lawmakers have begun talks about crafting next year's budget, with a midterm election and uncertainty about the state's finances looming.

The Arkansas Legislative Council and Joint Budget Committee on Tuesday began hearings to talk about funding for the state's agencies as lawmakers prepare for next year's legislative session. The panel planned to begin the hearings focusing on smaller boards and agencies.

Outgoing Gov. Mike Beebe's administration is set to present his balanced budget proposal to the committee on Nov. 13.

The Arkansas Community Organization has analyzed updated census data on rising poverty in the state. According to spokesman Neil Sealy, despite the end of the recession, the number of people nationally living below 200 percent of the poverty line went up by a third. In Arkansas, it went up by one half.

"It's even more dire in Arkansas, where in 2009, 18.8 percent of our population lived below the poverty line as opposed to in 2013, 19.9 percent," he said.

Clean Harbors broke ground on Tuesday for a new incineration unit in El Dorado.

Jobs Now Mike Beebe
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Finding the best ways to attract new businesses to Arkansas was the topic of a conference held Tuesday in Little Rock. 

More than 500 business leaders, educators, state lawmakers and others took part in the Jobs Now conference, looking at what is working and the challenges the state will continue to face.

Gov. Mike Beebe told them the key is having a properly trained workforce.

A lawsuit has been filed with the Arkansas Supreme Court aiming to block from the November ballot a proposal to gradually raise the state's minimum wage.

The lawsuit filed Monday asked justices to prevent the state from putting on the ballot the proposed initiated act, which would raise the state's minimum wage from $6.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour by 2017. Election officials earlier this month certified the measure for the ballot.

The lawsuit claims the state used the wrong deadline for accepting petitions for the measure, and also challenges the signatures submitted.

Groundbreaking Held For $1.3 BIllion Steel Mill In East Arkansas

Sep 22, 2014
Big River Steel
Johnathan Reaves / KASU News

Work is officially underway to build a $1.3 billion steel mill in east Arkansas that officials believe will provide an economic boon for the region.

"Big River Steel is here!" Mississippi County Judge Randy Carney announced to applause during Monday's groundbreaking ceremony.  

Hundreds of dignitaries, including state and local officials, joined investors, contractors, vendors, and supporters during the event near Osceola.