Arkansas Economy

Arkansas State Chamber Of Commerce Planning Workforce Push

Feb 9, 2015

The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce is preparing a major campaign to call attention to the state’s workforce needs and opportunities, Talk Business & Politics reports. Meanwhile, legislators are preparing to consider a package of workforce-related bills.

Arkansas River
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Funding for a key project to protect commercial river traffic on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System is included in President Barack Obama’s 2016 federal budget, which was delivered to Congress Monday.

With many similar projects vying for funding, officials with the Arkansas Waterways Commission are celebrating the news.

A strong January of revenue collections boosted year-to-date totals and has the Arkansas revenue picture more than $80 million ahead of forecast.

Year-to-date net available general revenues total $3.12 billion, $121 million or 4% above year ago levels. Seven months into the state’s fiscal year, net available revenue is above forecast by $80.3 million or 2.6%.

All levels of revenue collections spiked higher, said John Shelnutt, director of the Economic Analysis & Tax Research division at the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

Delta Regional Authority

The state's director of rural services has been tapped to serve as Governor Asa Hutchinson's designee and alternate to the Delta Regional Authority's board of governors. Hutchinson's office made the announcement Friday that Amy Fecher would be the designee.

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.