Arkansas Economy

State officials say Arkansas' unemployment rate rose slightly in August to 6.3 percent. It's the first time the state's jobless rate has increased in 2014.

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services said Friday that August's rate crept up one-tenth of a percentage point over July's.

A French aircraft cabin interior manufacturer says it's spending $2.5 million to locate a new facility in Arkansas that will initially employ 75 people.

Beaudet Aviation announced Wednesday that the new facility located adjacent to the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport will supply Dassault Falcon Jet with completion work for its Falcon models. Beaudet Aviation is a subsidiary of JCB Aero.

Dassault Falcon broke ground earlier this month on a $60 million expansion of its private jet finishing plant.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Senator John Boozman said he plans to fight back against air pollution regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Republican from Rogers spoke to the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas in Little Rock Thursday praising their influence and promising to try and halt the EPA’s plan to reduce carbon emissions in the state 44 percent by 2030.

Boozman, as he has done in the past, doubted the science behind carbon emissions and pointed to economic concerns.

Protesters in the Street
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

As part of a nationwide strike, about 50 to 100 protestors gathered outside a McDonalds in downtown Little Rock Thursday, demanding higher pay for fast-food workers. Little Rock Police say 11 of the protesters, who blocked off a portion of Broadway Street, were arrested for disorderly conduct after refusing to move back onto the sidewalk. 36-year old Twanna Scales is a divorced mother of three and works at the McDonalds on Broadway. She said the tactic of blocking traffic is meant to get people talking.

Steve Copley Minimum Wage Give Arkansas A Raise Now

A measure to raise the state’s minimum wage will be on the November ballot, according to an announcement from the secretary of state’s office Wednesday. The measure, if passed by voters, would incrementally raise the state’s minimum wage of $6.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour by 2017.

Steve Copley chairs the group that put the issue on the ballot. He said now that the measure is on the ballot it’s time for Give Arkansas A Raise Now to regroup for the general election. 

After lower-than-expected revenue numbers for the first month of the fiscal year, the state of Arkansas’s tax collections have picked up steam with the release of the latest monthly revenue report. The Department of Finance and Administration says that in August, the state collected $457 million dollars in gross general revenue and about $398.3 million in net available revenue. Both numbers come in above last year’s amounts and above this year’s forecast.

Dassault Falcon Jet

Dassalt Falcon Jet held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for a $60 million dollar expansion and improvement of its business jet competition facility near Little Rock's Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Andrew Ponzoni, communications manager at Dassault Falcon Jet said his company considered investing in other cities but decided on Little Rock because of the company's history in the city.

The U.S. Small Business Administration says the deadline is nearing for small, nonfarm business in 16 Arkansas counties and neighboring parishes and counties in Louisiana and Mississippi affected by drought to apply for disaster loans.

The deadline is Sept. 15 to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. The loans are available to small, nonfarm businesses that are dependent on farmers and ranchers who suffered losses due to the drought that began Oct. 1, 2013.

Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A slate of national Republican figures continues to campaign this week on behalf of Arkansas GOP candidates. Speaking in Little Rock Wednesday recently promoted House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) lent support to 2nd Congressional nominee French Hill amid a field of pipe sitting idle, awaiting a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.  

Unemployment Rate For Arkansas and US Since 2008

Unemployment numbers released Monday show July as another month with an improving jobless rate in Arkansas dropping one-tenth of a percent to the national average of 6.2 percent.

Michael Pakko, the senior economist at UALR’s Institute for Economic Advancement, said the report shows both good and troubling news.