Arkansas Economy

Arkansas’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest point in nearly six years sitting at six percent in October, according to a report released Friday by the Department of Workforce Services. At this point last year the unemployment rate was 7.6 percent.

Michael Pakko, an economist with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said the latest report is another encouraging sign of growth.

The Delta Regional Authority will invest $1.3 million into eight projects across Arkansas – grant money aimed at boosting economic development in rural parts of the state. Leaders said the money will help create or retain 1,050 jobs.

The eight projects and funding include:

A new or renovated airport, as well as improvements to the city’s water and sewer system, are near and long-term goals for Osceola’s economic future, the town’s mayor said Tuesday.

Dickie Kennemore said council members met Monday with officials with Little Rock-based McClelland Engineering about the water/sewer projects as well as voted to hire North Little Rock-based firm, Garver Engineering, to complete a feasibility study on the airport issue.

Consumer Confidence In Arkansas On The Rise, Still Trails Rest Of U.S.

Nov 18, 2014

Arkansans were feeling better about the state of the economy heading into the fall, rebounding from negative sentiments earlier this summer when consumers across the state were feeling gloomy about their current economic conditions and long-term prospects, according to the Fall 2014 Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey released Tuesday (Nov. 18).

The Uber app connects passengers with drivers using personal cars who are not direct employees.
wikimedia.org

There is now another option besides taxis and buses to motor around Little Rock but it may not be legal. The ride-sharing service Uber began operations in Little Rock Thursday. It connects would-be passengers and drivers using personal cars through a mobile app.

In recent months the city of Little Rock has been crafting a new ordinance to regulate Uber’s operation with their input.

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.

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