Arkansas Economy

Governor Asa Hutchinson Elyxor
Alden Walters / KUAR News

A software engineering company with an office in North Little Rock is expanding from four to 45 employees over the next five years, its leadership and Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday. Boston-based Elyxor supports clients around the world in finance, health care, eCommerce, industrial products and supply chains.

Diamond Pipeline LLC

Talk Business and Politics reports

Little Rock-based Welspun Tubular has received a $47 million contract to manufacture two-thirds of the pipe needed to construct the 440-mile Diamond Pipeline, a controversial multistate project that will ship light, sweet premium grade crude oil from Cushing, Okla., to Valero Corp.’s sprawling refinery facility in Memphis, Tenn.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) speaking at the FinTech Accelerator Gloval Investor Demo Day at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The state of Arkansas is investing $1 million in discretionary funds over the next two years in a 50-50 partnership with the financial tech company FIS, to continue a program meant to bolster start-ups in the industry.

Governor Asa Hutchinson said he’ll also ask the legislature for $2 million to expand the accelerator concept to industries beyond the financial sector. He made the announcement Wednseday at FinTech’s Accelerator Global Investor Demo Day at the Clinton Presidential Library.

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.

After ending fiscal 2016 with a $177 million surplus, state tax collections in the first month of the new budget year came in well below forecast as a number of economic indicators point to slowing business activity in the second half of 2016.

According to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration’s monthly financial report, net available general revenues for the first month of fiscal 2017 totaled $400.6 million, $1.4 million or 0.4% above last year and $7 million or 1.7% below forecast.

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.

education schools
arkansas.gov

A New York securities and class action law firm has proposed a $300 million settlement with Wall Street financial service giant State Street Corp. on behalf of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, the lead plaintiff in a federal case going back more than five years.

A breakdown of GDP growth rates by state and region.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Arkansas’s gross domestic product, or GDP, grew at a higher rate than any other state in the nation through the first quarter of 2016. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis on Wednesday shows the state's 3.9 percent GDP growth outpacing the national rate of 1.2 percent.

The Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas, Kathy Deck says other positive economic indicators preceded this measurement of the state’s economic output.

Arkansas’ jobless rate remained unchanged in June from last month, however the state’s civilian pool remained declined slightly as employers added fewer worker to payrolls before the back-to-school employment surge begins in early August.

Labor force data, produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released Friday (July 22) by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, shows Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in June stayed at 3.8%, an all-time low first touched in May. A year ago, the June jobless rate was 5.3%.

Governor's Radio Column: Trade Mission To Europe

Jul 16, 2016
Hutchinson Official
Office of the Governor

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio column for the weekend of July 15, 2016:

Last Saturday, I boarded a flight to London with a team from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to attend the Farnborough International Air Show. Over the last 10 years, Arkansas has had a significant presence at the Farnborough Air Show – and this year was no exception. Attendees included 86 of the world’s top 100 aerospace companies and over 100,000 trade visitors from 56 countries.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks with reporters via telephone from Berlin.
Jacob Kauffman/KUAR

The state of Arkansas officially opened an office in Germany on Wednesday to gin up economic development. The opening, replete with a reception at the U.S. Embassy, came as Governor Asa Hutchinson’s trade mission to Europe nears its close. He also attended the Farnborough International Airshow near London.

Speaking via telephone from the heart of the European Union, Hutchinson said Arkansas needs to have a presence to secure trade and investment opportunities.

"Arkansas has to be here at the table competing with other states,” he said.

Chris Masingill Delta Regional Authority
Talk Business & Politics

Local leaders in Arkansas are getting new training from the Delta Regional Authority and the International Economic Development Council to make better use of existing resources. A two-day conference in North Little Rock wrapped up Tuesday. It's one of 32 being held in the eight-state Delta region.

Chris Masingill, federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority, says the workshops are part of an effort to get information out to officials about how to maximize local efforts in economic development.

Members of the Arkansas Rice Federation have traveled to Cuba to discuss the future of trade between the U.S. and Cuba.
 
The delegation, which included Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward, was briefed on developments in Cuban farming and also met with representatives of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Trade, Havana University and Alimport, the state-owned operation responsible for agricultural imports and exports.
 

Governor Asa Hutchinson AEDC Mike Preston
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson touted new revenue numbers for the state Tuesday while making the case for further tax cuts. It comes as the Republican and an entourage are preparing for a trip abroad primarily focused on nurturing the state’s aerospace industry.

For fiscal year 2016, which ended at the end of June, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration reported Tuesday net available revenue of $5.3 billion. That's $117 million higher than the previous year, though gross general revenue was down about three percent.

Arkansas has ended its fiscal year with a $177.4 million surplus. The state Department of Finance and Administration announced Tuesday the state's net available revenue for the fiscal year that ended June 30 totaled $5.3 billion. That's $117.3 million higher than the previous fiscal year.

Business growth across the state took a step back in June, but a highly-watched economic indicator for the Mid-America region that includes Arkansas predicts Great Britain’s exit from the European Union will have minimal effect on the state economy. Talk Business & Politics reports:

A lawsuit intended to introduce a second taxi cab company into Little Rock has passed an early hurdle. A motion by the City of Little Rock to dismiss the suit about a monopoly operator was denied in Pulaski County Circuit Court. Judge Alice gray issued the ruling on Thursday.

A city ordinance requires new cab companies that want to compete with the city’s one existing company obtain a permit granted based on “public convenience and necessity.” Ken Leininger, who wants to operate Ken’s Cab, had a permit denied in 2015.

Arkansas Economic Development Commission Director Mike Preston.
TalkBusiness.net

Arkansas officials say a lumber mill that shut down six years ago is reopening, creating 136 new jobs.
 
The state Economic Development Commission on Wednesday announced that Caddo River Forest Products is spending up to $50 million to re-open the Glenwood sawmill. Officials said they expect another 200 to 300 indirect jobs to be created through the project.
 

Personal Income Percent Change 2015: Quarter IV-2015 Quarter I.
bea.gov

Personal income growth in Arkansas - at 1.2 percent in the first quarter of 2016 - bested the national average of 1 percent growth, in a report released on Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Earnings, which make up the largest contribution to personal income, were up 1.1 percent overall with a 1.7 percent uptick in Arkansas.

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.

jobs unemployment employment
www.purdue.edu

State officials say Arkansas' unemployment rate remains at a record low, coming in at 3.8 percent in May. 

p>The jobless rate is down one-tenth of a percentage point from April's numbers. The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services says there were 51,773 unemployed people in Arkansas in May. That continues a steady decrease from February 2011, when a record 114,892 people were unemployed in the state.

Arkansas GDP growth 2007-2015.
arkansaseconomist.com

Arkansas’s gross domestic product grew a little more slowly than the national average in 2015, according to a report released on Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

The state’s gross domestic product grew 1.5 percent last year while U.S. GDP rose 2.4 percent. In 2014 Arkansas’s GDP growth rate was 2.1 percent.

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.

File photo. Construction of Big River Steel plant in Mississippi County.
bigriversteel.com

A federal appeals court panel has upheld a judge's decision to dismiss a steel company's lawsuit challenging a rival's $1.3 billion steel mill in northeast Arkansas.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes' dismissal of the lawsuit by Nucor Steel that sought to stop Big River Steel from building a steel mill in Osceola, about 20 miles from a Nucor plant.

Nucor had appealed Holmes' ruling that the court didn't have jurisdiction over the case.

Stock Photo

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.

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration building in Little Rock.
KUAR News

Arkansas finance officials say a mild winter and a court settlement led revenue numbers to dip below forecast for the month of May but be above levels compared to the same month last year.

In May gross general revenue fell 1.7 percent below forecast at $432.9 million and sales tax collections dropped $21.2 million or 11 percent below expectations.

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.

Talk Business and Politics reports:

Retail giant Walmart is betting big on grocery pickup as a way to fend off Amazon’s fresh home delivery offering. But while the efforts are being accelerated by Walmart, consumers are slow to adopt the new service, according to a study by Fayetteville-based Field Agent and consultants close to the situation.

 

Talk Business and Politics reports

Gov. Asa Hutchinson recently touted to business leaders that the state has added 42,000 new jobs and reached an all-time low jobless rate of 3.9% during the first 16 months of his administration.

The Red River in southwest Arkansas.
US Geological Survey

The governor’s short-term highway funding plan is splitting the agenda with 14 other items in the special session of the Arkansas Legislature convening Thursday. Bills have yet to be filed but drafts are drawn up to re-organize the state’s levee system and to end a workers compensation fund among other items.

Pages