Arkansas Economy

Arkansas Capitol building.
Ron Breeding / KUAR News

Legislation outlining Arkansas' $5.3 billion budget for the coming year calls for funding increases for the state's Department of Human Services and public schools, with $13.8 million in money being set aside for the rainy day fund.

Legislative leaders on Sunday released the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, the budget bill that calls for a $142.7 million increase in spending. House Speaker Jeremy Gillam says he expects his chamber to take up the legislation on Wednesday with lawmakers hoping to wrap up the fiscal session this week.

The investment in south Arkansas by one of China's largest private companies, Sun Paper, is considered a win by state economic development officials. However, some have concerns about the implications of the country's manufacturing practices and what it will mean for workers at the new bio-products mill near Arkadelphia. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announcing a $1 billion investment by a Chinese company in a Clark County paper mill.
Arkansas Business

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the Chinese company Sun Paper will build a $1 billion bio-products mill in southern Arkansas, creating 250 jobs. Hutchinson was joined by Sun Paper chairman and founder Hongxin Li in making the announcement Tuesday.

Most key economic indicators in Arkansas’ three largest metro areas – central Arkansas, Fort Smith metro, and Northwest Arkansas – were moving in the right direction during the fourth quarter of 2015, according to The Compass Report.

Compared to the fourth quarter of 2015, economic conditions were better in Central Arkansas, were significantly better in Northwest Arkansas, and showed signs of improvement in the Fort Smith metro.

A service that tracks gasoline prices says the per-gallon cost of a gallon in Arkansas has risen eight cents in the past week, to an average of $1.90.

In Little Rock, the price averaged $1.89. That price is down 34 cents from a year ago and down nearly two dollars from five years ago.

Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods Inc. has announced a proposal to build a new processing facility near its existing poultry plant in Green Forest.

The Springdale-based company says the $136 million project is contingent in part on the approval of incentives from Carroll County and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. The company says the project would create about 85 jobs once it's fully operational.


The Arkansas jobless rate fell to its lowest level in the state’s history in March, declining two percentage points from last’s month’s previous hallmark while adding more than 7,000 new workers.

Foreclosure activity in Arkansas’ three largest metro areas and in the nation is below recession-related highs, according to Irvine, Calif.,-based There were 289,116 U.S. foreclosure filings recorded in the first three months of the year, down 8% from a year ago, the lowest quarterly total since the fourth quarter of 2006.

A handful of Little Rock businesses will be reducing their prices by 25 percent for female shoppers on Tuesday in support of national Equal Pay Day.

Abby Olivier, a member of the Arkansas Equal Pay Coalition, says the idea of charging women less reflects current Arkansas earning statistics.

“The Institute for Women’s Policy Research – they just put out an extensive report on the status of women in the south  – this came out just this past February. According to this report women in Arkansas earn 75% compared to men,” Olivier said.

Although Arkansas’ unemployment rate hit an all-time low in February, the percentage of unemployed working-age blacks across the state has steadfastly remained in double-digits following the Great Recession – dropping below 10% only a few times in the past nine years, according to jobless data culled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.