Arkansas Economy

Healthy October Pulls Arkansas Tax Revenues Ahead Of Last Year

Nov 4, 2014

October state tax collections rose a healthy 8.1% above last year and pulled 4.7% above forecast, but that simply moved year-to-date numbers into a slightly better position.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration released its October revenue report that showed net available general revenues totaling $402.8 million for the month, up $30.0 million above last year and $18.2 million above forecast.

The Material Works Ltd. announced Tuesday it will build an advanced flat rolled toll processing center adjacent to the new Big River Steel mill in Osceola, Arkansas.

Construction will begin in second quarter 2015 with the facility expected to be fully operational to coincide with Big River Steel’s opening in 2016. TMW will invest approximately $20 million in the new facility where 45 new jobs will be created.

Great River Economic Development official Clif Chitwood said Tuesday that Osceola and Mississippi County have been busy in recent years due to persistence.

The state of Arkansas definitely has room to improve in battling other states in the region for economic development projects and the day-to-day economy, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce president Randy Zook said Thursday. He also declared that the next Governor needs to create a “workforce czar” or an empowered panel on Day One.

Zook spoke to several regional economic development and community leaders early Thursday at the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce office.

Southern Arkansas residents say they're optimistic about Georgia-Pacific's plan to invest $37 million at its lumber operations in Gurdon.

The company wants to expand its production capacity by about 60 percent. The mill's improvements will include installing a new continuous dry kiln and planer mill, among other infrastructure improvements.

State officials say Arkansas' unemployment rate dipped to 6.2 percent in September. That's down from 7.7 percent a year earlier.

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services says September's jobless rate dropped by one-tenth of a percentage point from August. The agency says the number of employed Arkansans rose by 4,500 last month in the first employment gain since March.

Georgia-Pacific says it plans invest $37 million at its lumber operations in Gurdon to expand production capacity at the lumber mill by about 60 percent. Improvements at the mill include installing a new continuous dry kiln and planer mill, among other infrastructure improvements.

The project is expected to be finished next year. The company said Thursday that it's also considering additional investments - totaling about $20 million - at the nearby Gurdon plywood mill that would increase the mill's efficiency and capacity and further reduce air emissions.

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.

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