Arkansas Economy

Arkansas’ unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percent to 5.7% in December as the number of the employed rose and the universe of unemployed decreased.

In the separate monthly nonfarm payroll jobs report, big gains were seen in the construction, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and education/health sectors.

The Little Rock Port Authority's board has adopted a resolution supporting the development of a sustainable port.

The resolution adopted on Wednesday directs the port's staff to work with others to implement strategies, plans, processes and practices necessary to achieve and maintain a sustainable operation at the Port of Little Rock.

  AT&T said it will hire 120 new workers across that state for primarily technician and retail sales jobs. AT&T said the jobs can be full-time and part-time and will include “competitive wages and benefits.” The company currently employs more than 2,300 employees throughout the state and it hired 350 workers in Arkansas last year. AT&T noted it is committed to diversity and veteran recruiting.

Central Arkansas saw some positive economic outcomes for 2014 and may continue to see more growth in the coming years. That's according to Metroplan, an agency which studies economic and social patterns of the four-county region, which includes Pulaski, Faulkner, Saline and Lonoke counties.

Jonathan Lupton, a research planner at Metroplan led the annual study. He says the hospitality and leisure sectors continue to employ more workers in the area, making up for losses in manufacturing and construction caused by the recession.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson announced on Monday that he wants to raise the pay of the state’s chief economic developer to attract a high-caliber candidate in a nationwide search. Hutchinson also named two appointments to top state agency positions.

Speaking at a press conference at the Capitol, Hutchinson said he’d come to the conclusion compensation needed to be adjusted for the next director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission after consulting with industry leaders.

Carrie Ford Arkansas Venture Center
Talk Business & Politics

A new study from the Kauffman Foundation centered on women entrepreneurship concluded that more female business owners could have the same economic impact today that the entry of women in the 20th century labor force had generations ago.

Before Wednesday’s presidential announcement opening up relations with Cuba, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce was planning a networking trip to the communist island nation. Now, the excursion may take on a world of new meaning.

The state chamber, in partnership with Chamber Explorations, is offering members the chance to travel to Cuba from June 2-8, 2015.

Arkansas’ jobless rate fell three-tenths of a percent in November to 5.8%. In October, the rate stood at 6.1% and one year ago Arkansas’ unemployment benchmark was at 7.5%. The U.S. jobless rate remained unchanged in November at 5.8%, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock economist Michael Pakko said the report continued an unambiguously encouraging trend.

A national provider of electrical, data, communications and automation systems says it's expanding its facility in Lowell.

Wachter Inc. said Tuesday it plans to invest $2 million in the expansion and add 20 new jobs, bringing total employment at the facility to 260. The expansion of the Lowell facility is necessary due to Wachter's continued growth, both locally and nationally, over the years.

fast food protest salary
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Employees of several central Arkansas fast food restaurants took part in demonstrations Thursday calling for higher wages. 

About 60 people chanted slogans and held signs saying “Show Me $15 and a Union,” outside a Little Rock McDonald's. Similar protests, all organized by the group Fight for 15, took place in over 150 U.S. cities. The group also organized demonstrations here in September.