Talk Business & Politics Staff

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Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Whirlpool’s 2016 Annual Progress Report to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality will be released on Feb. 15, according to ADEQ spokeswoman Kelly Robinson.

Tyson Foods CEO Tom Hayes
Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods ended its fiscal year with net income of $1.768 billion, 45% more than the previous fiscal year, thanks in part to lower grain costs, better margins in the chicken segment and continued success with its prepared foods business.

Fiscal year revenue totaled $36.861 billion, below the $41.373 billion in fiscal year 2015, and below the consensus estimate among analysts following the company of $37.12 billion. The fiscal year per share earnings of $4.53 was well ahead of the $2.95 in fiscal 2015 but below the consensus estimate of $4.59.

Six days after six members of the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team knelt in protest during the national anthem, college officials on Wednesday announced “Project Unify,” a “community engagement program” designed to address concerns that fueled the protest.

The move, which will see the players no longer kneel during the anthem, could also quell backlash against the team and the university that included one Arkansas senator threatening to put a hold on the university’s budget.

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Consumers in Arkansas say their personal finances have improved this year as have their expectations for the state’s business climate next year, according to the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey this fall.

The second quarter economic story of Arkansas’ four key metro areas was much like the first quarter story: unchanged from the previous quarter, but healthy, with continued job gains and sales tax revenue growth, according to The Compass Report.

Compared to the second quarter of 2015, economic conditions were down slightly in Central Arkansas, better in Northwest Arkansas, unchanged in the Fort Smith metro, and up in the Jonesboro metro.

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

At least two members of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation have opened the door to GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump stepping down from the ticket.

A political firestorm began Friday and has grown through the weekend resulting from a 2005 recording that features Trump having a private conversation with Billy Bush, then a co-host with “Access Hollywood” as they arrived on the set of “Days of Our Lives,” where Trump made a cameo appearance.

Hunting and fishing giant Bass Pro Shops is acquiring competitor Cabela’s Inc. for $5.5 billion in an all cash deal that will combine the two iconic American retailers with loyal outdoor-oriented customer bases across the American South, West and Midwest.

In an announcement after the opening of the New York Stock Exchange, privately-held Bass Pro and publicly traded Cabela announced they had entered into a definitive agreement under which Bass Pro Shops will acquire Cabela’s for $65.50 per share in cash, a 19.2% premium over Friday’s closing price of $54.93.

Jason Burt / Arkansas Business

Dr. Dan Rahn announced Monday he will retire July 31, 2017, as chancellor of the Little Rock-based University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. His departure will mark almost eight years as head of the state’s largest public employer.

UAMS has 3,021 students, 789 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other medical personnel who work at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers in Arkansas.

While a better Arkansas economy has helped lower the state’s 2013-2015 food insecurity rate to 19.2% from the 19.7% in the 2010-2012 period, national and regional food bank officials say more help is needed and the rates remain above pre-recession realities.

Doug Whitlock Chuck Welch Arkansas State University ASU
George Jared / Talk Business & Politics

Dr. Doug Whitlock and his wife, Joanne, planned to spend their 48th wedding anniversary in the quiet solitude of retirement. But Arkansas State University needed a new chancellor to calm the proverbial waters after the controversial exit of former Chancellor Tim Hudson.

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Not only has the 2016 presidential election cycle deviated from the typical – or expected – script, but detailed analysis by ChamberLeads.com using Little Rock-based Acxiom consumer data shows unusual demographic trends for first time voters, Talk Business & Politics reports.

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Talk Business and Politics reports:

Low interest rates, stable loan demand and hyper competition characterized the banking climate in the state and nation, with net income for all U.S. banks up 1.46% in the second quarter of 2016.

Heavy rains during the last two weeks could significantly impact the row crop harvest in northeast Arkansas, experts say. At least 14 inches of rain fell in parts of the region, and many rivers have swelled outside their banks and numerous fields are flooded, according to the National Weather Service.

Natural Gas Drilling Mt. Vernon in Faulkner County
Arkansas Times

The energy sector continues to struggle in Arkansas and nationwide, with state severance tax revenue down almost 60%. But there are some signs of resurgence in the oil and gas industry

Despite increases in crude oil prices since the start of the year, employment in oil and natural gas extraction and support activities continued declining from levels reached in the fall of 2014, just before the onset of falling oil prices.

Mainstream Technologies will open a second location in downtown Conway, the 20-year old IT services firm announced on Thursday.

The Conway facility will begin operations in September with 15 new employees. Little Rock-based Mainstream provides managed services, custom software, and hosting to clients throughout the mid-South.

Fiscal second quarter net income for Wal-Mart Stores rose more than 8%, with adjusted per share earnings of $1.07 topping the consensus estimate of $1.02. Quarterly revenue of $120.854 billion also beat expectations.

Talk Business & Politics reports Walmart U.S. same-store sales rose 1.6%, marking the eighth consecutive quarter of positive comps with the closely watched financial metric.

American Railcar Industries will add up to 60 jobs at a new manufacturing facility in Paragould. Corbitt Manufacturing, a component manufacturing operation with ARI, will begin production at the new facility this month, according to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, along with local leaders, made the announcement Wednesday in Paragould. ARI already has plants in Paragould, and Marmaduke that employ about 1,000 workers, according to the company.

U.S. 67 highway department
Johnathan Reaves / KASU News

Drive times for motorists between much of northeast Arkansas and the central and southern parts of the state should now be safer and faster.

The final section of the new U.S. 67 from Swifton to Walnut Ridge, and the four-lane expansion of Arkansas 226 that connects Jonesboro with U.S. 67 were officially dedicated Thursday. 

Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport Sign
commons.wikimedia.org

Thousands of travelers on Delta Airline’s inbound and outbound flights in Little Rock, Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport and Fort Smith faced uncertainty and were left scrambling to find other travel options as a power outage at the nation’s second largest airline has impacted Monday morning travel nationwide.

The jobless rate for all metro areas in or connected to Arkansas rose in June compared to May, but year-over-year job growth continued in the state’s largest metro areas, with Northwest Arkansas seeing a 5.16% gain and central Arkansas up almost 4%.

Jobless rates ranged from a low of 3.1% in Northwest Arkansas to a high of 5.7% in the Pine Bluff and Memphis-West Memphis metros, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data posted Wednesday.

Conway has landed another Fortune 500 company.

Already home to top-tier companies such as Acxiom, HP, International Paper and Kimberly-Clark, Insight – a global provider of information technology solutions – announced it will add a sales center in the Meadows Office and Technology Park in Conway. Talk Business & Politics reports Insight expects to hire 50 more workers in Conway to its new, existing workforce of around 170.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) at Little Rock's VA Hospital
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

U.S. Sen. John Boozman told Talk Business & Politics Monday that comments by GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump about the family of a Muslim-American Army captain killed in action were “out of line and unnecessary.”

The Arkansas Ethics Commission will meet in Little Rock July 22 to discuss whether Gov. Asa Hutchinson violated state law on campaign practices. If prosecuted and found guilty, Hutchinson could be removed from office.

Little Rock attorney Matt Campbell on March 31 filed a complaint with the commission regarding Hutchinson’s appearance at two events from 7:30 until 11 a.m. on Feb. 29 on behalf of Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot, who defeated his primary challenger March 1.

Medical Marijuana
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The final results from the latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll indicate strong support among Arkansas voters for medical marijuana. 

Outside the Arkansas House chamber in the state Capitol building.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A longstanding legislative battle may be getting easier in the court of public opinion and a future legislative battle has widespread citizen support in one direction. Talk Business & Politics reports.

A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll, conducted Tuesday, June 21, 2016, among 751 likely Arkansas voters has a margin of error of +/- 3.6%.

Survey respondents were asked:

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Traffic at Arkansas’ three largest commercial airports improved in May, and shipping on the Arkansas River has recovered from the rain-induced slowdown in 2015, according to information in the June edition of the Arkansas Transportation Report.

Little Rock School District Superintendent Mike Poore (file photo).
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Michael Poore has packed up his office in Bentonville where he served as superintendent since 2011. He will soon transition into the role of superintendent for the academically challenged Little Rock public school system that continues to lose students.

UAMS campus in Little Rock.
uams.edu / UAMS

Talk Business and Politics reports

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is about to embark on a critical time for revenue, Dr. Dan Rahn, the school’s chancellor, told members of a newly formed “Friends of UAMS” chapter in Fort Smith.

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Confidence among Arkansas consumers about the economy and their personal finances continues to increase, according to the latest Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey completed this spring.

The report compiled by the University of Arkansas Center for Business and Economic Research twice a year. According to the survey conducted in March, 38% of Arkansas consumers expect their personal financial situation to improve over the next 12 months, up from 28% in September.

Talk Business and Politics reports

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Fort Smith on Wednesday (June 1) by laying out a strategy for the future of Arkansas economic development.

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