Arkansas Economy

  

The Arkansas jobless rate fell to its lowest level in the state’s history in March, declining two percentage points from last’s month’s previous hallmark while adding more than 7,000 new workers.

Foreclosure activity in Arkansas’ three largest metro areas and in the nation is below recession-related highs, according to Irvine, Calif.,-based RealtyTrac.com. There were 289,116 U.S. foreclosure filings recorded in the first three months of the year, down 8% from a year ago, the lowest quarterly total since the fourth quarter of 2006.

A handful of Little Rock businesses will be reducing their prices by 25 percent for female shoppers on Tuesday in support of national Equal Pay Day.

Abby Olivier, a member of the Arkansas Equal Pay Coalition, says the idea of charging women less reflects current Arkansas earning statistics.

“The Institute for Women’s Policy Research – they just put out an extensive report on the status of women in the south  – this came out just this past February. According to this report women in Arkansas earn 75% compared to men,” Olivier said.

Although Arkansas’ unemployment rate hit an all-time low in February, the percentage of unemployed working-age blacks across the state has steadfastly remained in double-digits following the Great Recession – dropping below 10% only a few times in the past nine years, according to jobless data culled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Five of the metro areas had jobless rate declines compared to January, two were unchanged and one was higher than January.

Net available general revenue is more than 3 percent above where it was this time last year, and nearly $73 million  higher than expected. 

That's according to a report released Monday by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration  that details March revenue numbers. 

State economist John Shelnutt said the jump is in part because of a growth in sales taxes, and because of refund levels are $44 million lower than last year.

Arkansas Department of Education Building in Little Rock near the state Capitol building.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A 3,000 student expansion of the eStem and Lisa Academy charter schools will come before the State Board of Education Thursday night.

Little Rock School District Civic Advisory co-chair Greg Adams told KUAR he hopes board members will consider how this growth could hurt the LRSD.

"To me, it's their responsibility to really look at the whole picture," he said.

One month does not make a trend, but a more than 21% gain in home sales during January in Arkansas’ four large markets continues the momentum of 2015 in which home sales were up almost 10% – with a December that had an almost 20% gain.

Home sales in Arkansas’ four largest markets totaled 1,484 in January, up 21.24% compared to January 2015 and up 18.3% compared to January 2014. All four markets posted double-digit growth in January, according to The Arkansas Home Sales Report.

Walmart.com Lags E-commerce Industry Growth Despite Hefty Investments

Mar 29, 2016

With 40 million customers per month, Walmart.com is the 15th largest online shopping site, despite being the world’s largest retailer. Few market watchers are convinced the Bentonville-based retailer’s multi-billion dollar e-commerce investments will move the ranking too much higher.

Walmart’s online traffic equals just 7% of weekly store traffic and only 2% of the sales. The majority of Walmart’s online shoppers also shop in the retailer’s stores, with 80% at least once a month and half once a week, according to analysts with Cleveland Research.

Talk Business and Politics

As state lawmakers prepare for an April 6th special session to consider the fate of the governor’s health care reform program, Arkansas Works, two state lawmakers say there are multiple issues to address to secure the votes needed for passage.

Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, and Rep. Clarke Tucker, D-Little Rock, appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics to explain how Republicans and Democrats may be persuaded to support the Medicaid expansion plan.

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